Plan Colombia - Noam Chomsky

Right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia
Right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia

Chomsky explains the Colombian government plan with US military aid, supposedly for fighting the "war on drugs" but actually to counter the struggles of poor peasants and workers.

Submitted by Steven. on October 31, 2009

In 1999, Colombia became the leading recipient of US military and police assistance, replacing Turkey (Israel and Egypt are in a separate category). Colombia receives more US military aid than the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean combined. The total for 1999 reached about $300 million, along with $60 million in arms sales, approximately a threefold increase from 1998. The figure is scheduled to increase still more sharply with the anticipated passage of some version of Clinton’s Colombia Plan, submitted to Congress in April 2000, which called for a $1.6 billion “emergency aid” package for two years. Through the 1990s, Colombia has been by far the leading recipient of US military aid in Latin America, and has also compiled by far the worst human rights record, in conformity with a well-established and long-standing correlation. 1
In theory, “Plan Colombia” is a two-year Colombian government program of $7.5 billion, with the US providing the military muscle and token funds for other purposes, and some $6 billion from the Colombian government, Europe, the IMF, and the World Bank for social and economic programs that Colombia is to prepare. According to non-US diplomats, the draft of “Plan Colombia” was written in English, not Spanish. The military program (arms, training, intelligence infrastructure) was in place in late 1999, but “the Colombian govern-ment has yet to present a coherent social investment program” as of mid-2000, and few governments are “willing to climb aboard what is widely perceived as an American project to clean up its backyard,” by means that are familiar to those who do not choose what has been called “intentional ignorance.” 2

We can often learn from systematic patterns, so let us tarry for a moment on the previous champion, Turkey. As a major US military ally and strategic outpost, Turkey has received substantial military aid from the origins of the Cold War. But arms deliveries began to increase sharply in 1984. Evidently, there was no Cold War connection at all. Rather, that was the year when Turkey initiated a large-scale counterinsurgency campaign in the Kurdish southeast, which also is the site of major US air bases and the locus of regional surveillance, so that everything that happens there is well known in Washington. Arms deliveries peaked in 1997. In that year alone, they exceeded the total from the entire period 1950-83. US arms amounted to about 80 percent of Turkish military equipment, including heavy armaments(jet planes, tanks, etc.), often evading congressional restrictions. 3

By 1999, Turkey had largely suppressed Kurdish resistance by extreme terror and ethnic cleansing, leaving some 2 to 3 million refugees, 3,500 villages destroyed (seven times as high as in Kosovo under NATO bombs), and tens of thousands killed, primarily during the Clinton years. A huge flow of US arms was no longer needed to accomplish these objectives. Turkey can therefore be singled out for praise for its “positive experiences” in showing how “tough counterterrorism measures plus political dialogue with non-terrorist opposition groups” can overcome the plague of violence and atrocities, so we learn from the lead article in the New York Times on the State Department’s “latest annual report describing the administration’s efforts to combat terrorism.” 4 More evidence, if such is needed, that cynicism is utterly without limits.

A few days later more was reported about Turkey’s “positive experiences” with “tough counterterrorism measures.” Turkey’s parliamentary human rights commission described “widespread resort to torture” by the police and “an array of torture equipment,” and a spokesperson informed the press that visits to the eastern region had “confirmed grim tales of torture” in police prison cells, specifically those of anti-terrorism units. The commission then released a six-volume report based on a two-year investigation, with photographs and other details, confirming extensive evidence that the abuses are systematic, and continue without significant change. These revelations received little notice, ignoring Washington’s involvement, but the press did feature impassioned rhetoric on the need to maintain very harsh sanctions against Cuba because its human rights violations so offend our humanitarian sensibilities. The parliamentary inquiry into the ongoing atrocities supported lavishly by Washington perhaps received oblique acknowledgment in a report by New York Times bureau chief Stephen Kinzer on Turkey’s current progress, shown by the military’s willingness to permit films that “portray the torture that was widespread in military prisons” in the early 1980s.5

Nevertheless, despite the great success achieved by some of the most violent state terror of the 1990s, military operations continue, while Kurds are still deprived of elementary rights.6 On April 1, 2000, 10,000 Turkish troops began new ground sweeps in the regions that had been most devastated by the US-Turkish terror campaigns of the preceding years, also launching another offensive into northern Iraq to attack Kurdish guerrilla forces (PKK) - in a no-fly zone where Kurds are protected by the US air force from the (temporarily) wrong oppressor. Asked about the renewed operations in Iraq, State Department spokesperson James Rubin said that US “policy remains the same. We support the right of Turkey to defend itself against PKK attacks, so long as its incursions are limited in scope and duration and fully respect the rights of the civilian inhabitants of the region”; he declined to answer the question whether Turkey had been “attacked,” stating only that the US had no “independent confirmation” of Turkish military operations in this region of intense surveillance and regular US bombardment.7 As the renewed Turkish campaigns were beginning, Secretary of Defense William Cohen addressed the American-Turkish Council, a festive occasion with much laughter and applause, according to the government report.8 He praised Turkey for taking part in the humanitarian bombing of Yugoslavia, apparently without embarrassment, and announced that Turkey had been invited to join in co-production of the new Joint Strike Aircraft, just as it has been co-producing the F- 16s that it used to such good effect in approved varieties of ethnic cleansing and atrocities within its own territory, as a loyal member of NATO.

In Colombia, however, the military armed and trained by the United States has not crushed domestic resistance, though it continues to produce its regular annual toll of atrocities. Each year, some 300,000 new refugees are driven from their homes, with a death toll of about 3,000 and many horrible massacres. The great majority of atrocities are attributed to paramilitary forces. These are closely linked to the military, as documented in considerable and shocking detail once again in February 2000 by Human Rights Watch, and in April 2000 by a UN study which reported that the Colombian security forces that are to be greatly strengthened by the Colombia Plan maintain an intimate relationship with death squads, organize paramilitary forces, and either participate in their massacres directly or, by failing to take action, have “undoubtedly enabled the paramilitary groups to achieve their exterminating objectives.” In more muted terms, the State Department confirms the general picture in its annual human rights reports, again in the report covering 1999, which concludes that “security forces actively collaborated with members of paramilitary groups” while “government forces continued to commit numerous, serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, at a level that was roughly similar to that of 1998,” when the report attributed about 80 percent of attributable atrocities to the military and paramilitaries. The picture is confirmed as well by the Colombian Office of UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson. Its director, a respected Swedish diplomat, assigns the responsibility for “the magnitude and complexity of the paramilitary phenomenon” to the Colombian government, hence indirectly to its US sponsor.9

Resort to paramilitary forces for atrocities is well-established practice, for understandable reasons, including in recent years Serbia in Kosovo and Indonesia in East Timor (though in the latter case, the facts were suppressed in favor of “militia violence” and “rogue elements” as long as possible). There is a long history in the practice of terrorist states and imperial powers.

The Colombian Commission of Jurists reported in September 1999 that the rate of killings had increased by almost 20 percent over the preceding year, and that the proportion attributable to the paramilitaties had risen from 46 percent in 1995 to almost 80 percent in 1998, continuing through 1999. The Colombian government’s Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoria del Pueblo) reported a 68 percent increase in massacres in the first half of 1999 as compared to the same period of 1998, reaching more than one a day, overwhelmingly attributed to paramilitaries. Daniel Bland, a human rights researcher who worked in Colombia through most of the 1990s, concludes that in the past three years alone, “more than a million people have been forced from their homes in the countryside, and between 5,000 and 7,000 unarmed peasants have been slaughtered by right-wing paramilitaries.” Of nine people he interviewed for a documentary on human rights in 1997-professors, journalists, priests, human rights workers-“three have since been murdered by paramilitary gunmen; four have fled with their families after receiving death threats.” UNICEF and the Colombian Human Rights Information Bureau CODRES estimate that in June-August 1999 alone, 200,000 more people were driven from their homes.10

It would be unfair to charge Washington with lack of concern over paramilitary terror. After the April 2000 release of its annual report “describing the administration’s efforts to combat terrorism,” praising Turkey for its “positive experiences” in this common pursuit, the State Department held a press conference on the report. Counterterrorism Coordinator Michael Sheehan was asked why the Colombian paramilitaries are not listed among terrorist groups, though the State Department has long recognized them to be responsible for the overwhelming majority of the atrocities, including the most atrocious of them, and they are surely the most violent and brutal terrorist organization in the Western hemisphere, ranking high in the world. They are, furthermore, agents of the more serious crime of state terrorism, in view of their close relation to he military establishment in Colombia, hence also the United States. Sheehan explained that the paramilitaries do not escape Washington’s vigilant eye, but the Department cannot jump to conclusions. Terrorists are identified in the report only after scrupulous investigation. “it’s a legal process, and one that was very meticulous.” The paramilitaries are “under review right now” and “if we come up with a case, if we can make the case from our legal definition, they’ll be designated” as terrorists.

In contrast, Cuba easily satisfies the requirements as one of the seven states engaged in terrorism, as demonstrated in the 85 words devoted to it in this 107-page document. The State Department would be ‘absolutely” ready to take its case against Cuba to Court, Sheehan stated: after all, Cuba “has links to several terrorist organizations that it needs to address,” including the Colombian guerrilla organizations. These do satisfy the Department’s meticulous criteria -by definition, a realistic commentator might add, since the US opposes them.11

We may recall that in the early months of 1999, while massacres were proceeding at over one a day in Colombia, there was also a large increase in atrocities (including many massacres) in East Timor, carried out by Indonesian commandoes armed and trained by the US. In one massacre alone, in a church in Liquica on April 6, 1999, Western investigators believe that 200 or more people were murdered. An American Police officer on the scene comments that “officially we must stay with the number of bodies that we have actually lifted, but the total number of people killed in this district is much, much higher than that, perhaps even astronomical.” The full story will never be known, because the plea of the UN mission for forensic experts was rejected by the US and its allies-unlike Kosovo, teeming with investigators at once in an effort to find atrocities that could provide retrospective justification for the NATO bombing that precipitated them, by intriguing logic.12

In both Colombia and East Timor, the conclusion drawn was exactly as in Turkey: support the killers. There was also one reported massacre in Kosovo, at Racak on January 15, 1999 (45 killed). That event allegedly inspired such horror among Western humanitarians that it was necessary to bomb Yugoslavia 10 weeks later with the expectation, quickly fulfilled, that the consequence would be a sharp escalation of atrocities. The accompanying torrent of self-adulation, which has few, if any, counterparts, heralded a “new era” in human affairs in which the “enlightened states” will selflessly dedicate themselves to the defense of human rights, guided by “principles and values” for the first time in history.13 Putting aside the actual facts about Kosovo, the performance was greatly facilitated by silence or deceit about the active participation of the same powers in comparable or worse atrocities at the very same time.

Returning to Colombia, prominent human rights activists continue to flee abroad under death threats, including the courageous head of the Church-based human rights group Justice and Peace, Father Javier Giraido, who has played an outstanding role in defending human rights. The AFL-CIO reports that several trade unionists are murdered every week, mostly by paramilitaries supported by the government security forces. Forced displacement in 1998 was 20 percent above 1997, and increased again in 1999 in some regions, according to Human Rights Watch. Colombia now has the largest displaced population in the world, after Sudan and Angola.14

Hailed as a leading democracy by Clinton and other US leaders and political commentators, Colombia did at last permit an independent party (UP, Patriotic Union) to challenge the long-standing elite system of power-sharing. The UP party, founded by the guerrillas (primarily the FARC, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and drawing in part from their constituencies, faced certain difficulties, however, including the rapid assassination of about 3,000 activists, including presidential candidates, mayors, and legislators. The results taught lessons to the guerrillas about the prospects for entering the political system.15 Washington also drew lessons from these and related events of the same period. The Clinton administration was particularly impressed with the performance of President Cesar Gaviria, who presided over the escalation of state terror-so impressed that it induced (some say compelled) the Organization of American States to accept him as Secretary-General on grounds that “he has been very forward looking in building democratic institutions in a country where it was sometimes dangerous to do so”-which is surely true, in large measure because of the actions of his government. A more significant reason, perhaps, is that he was also “forward-looking ... on economic reform in Colombia and on economic integration in the hemisphere,” code words that are readily interpreted.16

Meanwhile, deplorable socioeconomic conditions persist, leaving much of the population in misery in a rich country with concentration of wealth and land-ownership that is high even by the shameful standards of Latin America generally. The situation became worse in the 1990s as a result of the “neoliberal reforms” formalized in the 1991 constitution, which reduced still further “the effective participation of civil society” in policy formation by “reforms intended to enhance executive power and reduce the autonomy of the judicial and legislative branches, and by concentrating macroeconomic planning in the hands of a smaller circle of technocrats”-in effect, adjuncts of Washington. The “neoliberal reforms have also given rise to alarming levels of poverty and inequality; approximately 55 percent of Colombia’s population lives below the poverty level” and “this situation has been aggravated by an acute crisis in agriculture, itself a result of the neoliberal program,” as in Latin America generally.17

The respected president of the Colombian Permanent Committee for Human Rights, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfredo Vizquez Caffizosa, writes that it is “poverty and insufficient land reform” that “have made Colombia one of the most tragic countries of Latin America,” though as elsewhere, “violence has been exacerbated by external factors,” primarily the initiatives of the Kennedy administration, which “took great pains to transform our regular armies into counterinsurgency brigades.” These initiatives ushered in “what is known in Latin America as the National Security Doctrine,” which is not concerned with “defense against an external enemy” but rather “the internal enemy.” The new “strategy of the death squads” accords the military “the right to fight and to exterminate social workers, trade unionists, men and women who are not supportive of the establishment, and who are assumed to be communist extremists.” The general goal, as explained by the foremost US academic specialist on human rights in Latin America, was “to destroy permanently a perceived threat to the existing structure of socio-economic privilege by eliminating the political participation of the numerical majority,” the “popular classes.” 18

As part of its strategy of converting the Latin American military from “hemispheric defense” to “internal security”-meaning war against the domestic population-Kennedy dispatched a military mission to Colombia in 1962 headed by Special Forces General William Yarborough. He proposed “reforms” to enable the security forces to “as necessary execute paramilitary, sabotage, and/or terrorist activities against known Communist proponents”-the “communist extremists” to whom Vizquez Carrizosa alludes.19

Again the broader patterns are worth noting. Shortly after, Lyndon Johnson escalated Kennedy’s war against South Vietnam-what is called here “the defense of South Vietnam,” just as Russia called its war against Afghanistan “the defense of Afghanistan.” In January 1965, US special forces in South Vietnam were issued standing orders “to conduct operations to dislodge VC-controlled officials, to include assassination,” and more generally to use such “pacification” techniques as “ambushing, raiding, sabotaging, and committing acts of terrorism against known VC personnel,” the counterparts of the “known Communist proponents” in Colombia.20

A Colombian governmental commission concluded that “the criminalization of social protest” is one of the “principal factors which permit and encourage violations of human rights” by the military and police authorities and their paramilitary collaborators. Ten years ago, as US-backed state terror was increasing sharply, the Minister of Defense called for “total war in the political, economic, and social arenas,” while another high military official explained that guerrillas were of secondary importance: “the real danger” is “what the insurgents have called the political and psychological war,” the war “to control the popular elements” and “to manipulate the masses.” The “subversives” hope to influence unions, universities, media, and so on. “Every individual who in one or another manner supports the goals of the enemy must be considered a traitor and treated in that manner,” a 1963 military manual prescribed, as the Kennedy initiatives were moving into high gear. Since the official goals of the guerrillas are social democratic, the circle of treachery targeted for terror operations is wide.21

In the years that followed, the Kennedy-Yarborough strategy was developed and applied broadly in “our little region over here,” as the Western hemisphere was described by FDR’s Secretary of War Henry Stimson when he was explaining why the US was entitled to control its own regional system while all others were to be dismantled. Violent repression spread throughout Latin America, beginning in the southern cone and reaching its awesome peak in Central America in the 1980s as the stern disciplinarian of the North responded with extreme violence to efforts by the Church and other “subversives” to confront a terrible legacy of misery and repression. Colombia’s advance to first rank among the criminal states in “our little region” is in part the result of the decline in US-managed state terror in Central America, which achieved its primary aims as in Turkey 10 years later, leaving in its wake a “culture of terror” that “domesticat[es] the expectations of the majority” and undermines aspirations towards “alternatives different to those of the powerful,” in the words of Salvadoran Jesuits, who learned the lessons from bitter experience; those who survived the US assault, that is. In Colombia, however, the problem of establishing approved forms of democracy and stability remains, and is even becoming more severe. One approach would be to address the needs and concerns of the poor majority. Another is to provide arms and military training to keep things as they are.

Quite predictably, the announcement of the Colombia Plan led to countermeasures by the guerrillas, in particular, a demand that everyone with assets of more than $1 million pay a “revolutionary tax” or face the threat of kidnapping (as the FARC puts it, the threat of jailing for non-payment of taxes). The motivation is explained by the London Financial Times: “In the Farc’s eyes, financing is required to fight fire with fire. The government is seeking $1.3 [billion] in military aid from the US, ostensibly for counter-drugs operations: the Farc believe the new weapons will be trained on them. They appear ready to arm themselves for battle,” which will lead to military escalation and undermining of the fragile but ongoing peace negotiations.22

According to New York Times reporter Larry Rohter, “ordinary Colombians” are “angered” by the government’s peace negotiations, which ceded control to the FARC of a large region that they already controlled, and the “embittered residents” of that region also oppose the guerrillas. No evidence is cited. The leading Colombian military analyst Alfredo Rangel sees matters differently. He “makes a point of reminding interviewers that the FARC has significant support in the regions where it operates,” Alina Guillermoprieto reports. Rangel cites “FARC’s ability to launch surprise attacks” in different parts of the country, a fact that is “politically significant” because “in each case, a single warning by the civilian population would be enough to alert the army, and it doesn’t happen.23

The situation is not unfamiliar. An example that should be well known is the startling success of the Tet offensive throughout South Vietnam in January 1968, in cities and towns as well as rural areas. Though the territory was occupied by over half a million US troops, with a huge client army and police apparatus, the uprising of South Vietnamese guerrillas came as an almost complete surprise, with no advance warning, revealing how deeply the guerrillas were embedded in the general population (North Vietnamese forces were largely confined to border regions, according to US intelligence). Though more convenient tales have been constructed in the course of reshaping of history, the facts were clear enough to convince US elites that the effort to crush resistance in South Vietnam was too costly to pursue.

On the same day that Rohter reported “the anger of ordinary Colombians,” the London Financial Times reported an “‘innovative forum” in the FARC-controlled region, one of many held there to allow “members of the public to participate in the current peace talks.” They come from all parts of Colombia, speaking before TV cameras and meeting with senior FARC leaders. Included are union and business leaders, farmers, and others. A trade union leader from Colombia’s second-largest city, Cali, “gave heart to those who believe that talking will end the country’s long-running conflict,” addressing both the government and FARC leaders. He directed his remarks specifically to “Senor Marulanda,” the long-time FARC peasant leader “who minutes earlier had entered to a rousing ovation,” telling him that “unemployment is not a problem caused by the violence,” but “by the national government and the businessmen of this country.” Business leaders also spoke, but “were heckled by the large body of trade union representatives who had also come to speak.” Against a background of “union cheers,” a FARC spokesperson “put forward one of the clearest visions yet of his organization’s economic program,” calling for freezing of privatization, subsidizing energy and agriculture as is done in the rich countries, and stimulation of the economy by protecting local enterprises. The government representative, who “emphasized export-led growth and private participation,” nevertheless described the FARC statement as “raw material for the negotiations,” though FARC, “bolstered by evident popular discontent with ‘neoliberal’ government policies,” argued that those who “have monopolized power” must yield in the negotiations.24

The potential scale of the Colombia Plan is suggested by regional US military projects. The Salvadoran press reports a US-Salvadoran agreement, still to be ratified by the Salvadoran legislature, to allow the US Navy to use a Salvadoran airport as a “Forward Operating Location” (FOL), in addition to US Air Force FOLs in the Ecuadoran port city of Manta and the Dutch colonies of Aruba and Curacao. The intergovernmental agreements reportedly allow the US total discretion over aircraft and weaponry, with no local inspection or control permitted. Ecuadoran military experts express concern that the Manta military base is perhaps being prepared for “eventual Kosovo-style aerial bombardments, ... an air war waged from bases used by the United States in the region, and from sea, in which planes and missiles would play a major role.” 25

The Colombia Plan is officially justified in terms of the “drug war,” 26 a claim taken seriously by few competent analysts. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that “all branches of government” in Colombia are involved in “drug-related corruption.” In November 1998, US Customs and DEA inspectors found 415 kg of cocaine and 6 kg of heroin in a Colombian Air Force plane that had landed in Florida, leading to the arrest of several Air Force officers and enlisted personnel.27 Other observers too have reported the heavy involvement of the military in narcotrafficking, and the US military has also been drawn in. The wife of Colonel James Hiett pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle heroin from Colombia to New York, and shortly after, it was reported that Colonel Hiett himself, who is in charge of US troops that trained Colombian security forces in “counternarcotics operations,” was “expected to plead guilty” to charges of complicity.28 The paramilitaries openly proclaim their reliance on the drug business. “The leader of the paramilitaries [Carlos Castano] acknowledged in a television interview that the drug trade provided 70 percent of the group’s funding,” correspondent John Donnelly reported in March 2000. This was the first appearance on Colombian TV of Castano, who heads the largest and most brutal of the paramilitary organizations. He claimed to command a force of 11,200 men “financed by extortion and income from 30,000 hectares of coca fields in Norte de Santander.” 29 But “the US-financed attack stays clear of the areas controlled by paramilitary forces,” Donnelly observes, as have many others. The targets of the Colombia Plan are guerrilla forces based on the peasantry and calling for internal social change, which would interfere with integration of Colombia into the global system on the terms that the US demands: dominated by elites linked to US power interests that are accorded privileged access to Colombia’s valuable resources, including oil-quite possibly a significant factor behind the Colombia Plan.

In standard US terminology, the FARC forces are “narcoguerrillas,” a useful concept as a cover for counterinsurgency, but one that has been disputed by knowledgeable observers. It is agreed-and FARC leaders say-that they rely for funding on coca production, which they tax, as they tax other businesses. But “the guerrillas are something different from the traffickers," says Klaus Nyholm who runs the UN Drug Control Program,” which has agents throughout the drug-producing regions. He believes the local FARC fronts to be “quite autonomous." 30 In some areas “they are not involved at all” in coca production, and in others “they actively tell the farmers not to grow [coca].” Andean drug specialist Ricardo Vargas describes the role of the guerrillas as “primarily focused on taxation of illicit crops.” They have called for “a development plan for the peasants” that would “allow eradication of coca on the basis of alternative crops.” “That’s all we want,” their leader Marulanda has publicly announced, as have other spokespersons.31

But let us put these matters aside and consider a few other questions.

Why do peasants in Colombia grow coca, not other crops? The reasons are understood. “Peasants grow coca and poppies,” Vargas observes, “because of the crisis in the agricultural sector of Latin American countries, escalated by the general economic crisis in the region.” Peasants began colonizing the Colombian Amazon in the 1950s, he writes, “following the violent displacement of peasants by large landholders,” and they found that coca was “the only product that was both profitable and easy to market.” Pressures on the peasantry substantially increased as “ranchers, investors, and legal commercial farmers have created and strengthened private armies”-the paramilitaries-that “serve as a means to violently expropriate land from indigenous people, peasants, and settlers,” with the result that “traffickers now control much of Colombia’s valuable land.” The counterinsurgency battalions armed and trained by the US do not attack traffickers, Vargas reports, but “have as their target the weakest and most socially fragile link of the drug chain: the production by peasants, settlers, and indigenous people.” The same is true of the chemical and biological weapons that Washington employs, used experimentally in violation of manufacturers’ specifications, and over the objections of the Colombian government and agricultural associations. These measures multiply the “dangers to the civilian population, the environment, and legal agriculture.” They destroy “legal food crops like yucca and bananas, water sources, pastures, livestock, and all the crops included in crop substitution programs,” including those of well-established Church-run development projects that have sought to develop alternatives to coca production. There are also uncertain but potentially severe effects “on the fragile tropical rainforest environment.” 32

Traditional US programs, and the current Colombia Plan as well, primarily support the social forces that control the government and the military/paramilitary system, and that have largely created the problems by their rapacity and violence. The targets are the usual victims.

There are other factors that operate to increase coca production. Colombia was once a major wheat producer. That was undermined in the 1950s by “Food for Peace” aid, a program that provided taxpayer subsidies to US agribusiness and induced other countries to “become dependent on us for food” (Senator Hubert Humphrey, representing Midwest agricultural exporters), with counterpart funds for US client states, which they commonly used for military spending and counterinsurgency. A year before President Bush announced the “drug war” with great fanfare (once again), the international coffee agreement was suspended under US pressure, on grounds of “fair trade violations.” The result was a fall of prices of more than 40 percent within two months for Colombia’s leading legal export.33

Related factors are discussed by political economist Susan Strange.34 In the 1960s, the G77 governments (now 133, accounting for 80 percent of the world’s population) initiated a call for a “new international economic order” in which the needs of the large majority of people of the world would be a prominent concern. Specific proposals were formulated by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which was established in 1964 “to create an international trading system consistent with the promotion of economic and social development.” The UNCTAD proposals were summarily dismissed by the great powers, along with the call for a “new international order” generally; the US, in particular, insists that “development is not a right,” and that it is “preposterous” and a “dangerous incitement” to hold otherwise in accord with the socioeconomic provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the US rejects.35 The world did move-or more accurately, was moved-towards a new international economic order, but along a different course, catering to the needs of a different sector, namely its designers-hardly a surprise, any more than one should be surprised that in standard doctrine the instituted form of “globalization” should be depicted as an inexorable process to which “there is no alternative” (TINA), as Margaret Thatcher thoughtfully declared.

One early UNCTAD proposal was a program for stabilizing commodity prices, routine practice within the industrial countries by means of public subsidy, though it was threatened briefly in the US when Congress was taken over in 1994 by right-wing elements that seemed to believe their own rhetoric, much to the consternation of business leaders who understand that market discipline is for the defenseless, not for them. The upstart free-market ideologues were soon taught better manners or dispatched back home, but not before Congress passed the 1996 “Freedom to Farm Act” to liberate American agriculture from the “East German socialist programs of the New Deal,” as Newt Gingrich put it, ending market-distorting subsidies-which quickly tripled, reaching a record $23 billion in 1999, and are scheduled to increase. The market has worked its magic, however: the taxpayer subsidies go disproportionately to large agribusiness and the “corporate oligopolies” that dominate the input and output side, Nicholas Kristof observed. Those with market power in the food chain (from energy corporations to retailers) are enjoying great profits while the agricultural crisis, which is real, is concentrated in the middle of the chain, among smaller farmers, who produce the food.36

One of the leading principles of modern economic history is that the devices used by the rich and powerful to ensure that they are protected by the nanny state are not to be available to the poor. Accordingly, the UNCTAD initiative to stabilize commodity prices was quickly shot down; the organization itself has been largely marginalized and tamed, along with others that reflect, to some extent at least, the interests of the global majority.37 Reviewing these events, Strange observes that farmers were therefore compelled to turn to crops for which there is a stable market. Large-scale agribusiness can tolerate fluctuation of commodity prices, compensating for temporary losses elsewhere. Poor peasants cannot tell their children: “don’t worry, maybe you’ll have something to eat next year.” The result, Strange continues, was that drug entrepreneurs could easily “find farmers eager to grow coca, cannabis, or opium,” for which there is always a ready market in the rich societies.

Other programs of the US and the global institutions it dominates magnify these effects. The current Clinton plan for Colombia includes only token funding for alternative crops, and none at all for areas under guerrilla control, though FARC leaders have repeatedly expressed their hope that alternatives will be provided so that peasants will not be compelled to grow coca to survive. “By the end of 1999, the United States had spent a grand total of $750,000 on alternative development programs,” the Center for International Policy reports, “all of it in heroin poppy-growing areas far from the southern plains” that are targeted in the Colombia Plan, which does, however, call for “assistance to civilians to be displaced by the push into southern Colombia,” a section of the plan that the Center finds “especially disturbing.” The Clinton administration also insists-over the objections of the Colombian government-that any peace agreement must permit crop destruction measures.38 Constructive approaches are not barred, but they are someone else’s business. The US will concentrate on military operations-which, incidentally, happen to benefit the high-tech industries that produce military equipment and are engaged in “extensive lobbying” for the Colombia Plan, along with Occidental Petroleum which has large investments in Colombia, and other corporations.39

Furthermore, IMF-World Bank programs demand that countries open their borders to a flood of (heavily subsidized) agricultural products from the rich countries, with the obvious effect of undermining local production. Those displaced are either driven to urban slums (thus lowering wage rates for foreign investors) or instructed to become “rational peasants,” producing for the export market and seeking the highest prices-which translates as “coca, cannibis, opium.” Having learned their lessons properly, they are rewarded by attack by military gunships while their fields are destroyed by chemical and biological warfare, courtesy of Washington.

Much the same is true throughout the Andean region. The issues broke through briefly to the public eye just as the Colombia Plan was being debated in Washington. On April 8, 2000, the government of Bolivia declared a state of emergency after widespread protests closed down the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest. The protests were over the privatization of the public water system and the sharp increase in water rates to a level beyond the reach of much of the population. In the background is an economic crisis attributed in part to the neoliberal policies that culminate in the drug war, which has destroyed more than half of the country’s coca-leaf production, leaving the “rational peasants” destitute. A week later, farmers blockaded a highway near the capital city of La Paz to protest the eradication of coca leaf, the only mode of survival left to them under the “reforms,” as actually implemented.

Reporting on the protests over water prices and the eradication programs, the Financial Times observes that “the World Bank and the IMF saw Bolivia as something of a model,” one of the great success stories of the “Washington consensus,” but the April protests reveal that “the success of eradication programs in Peru and Bolivia has carried a high social cost.” The journal quotes a European diplomat in Bolivia who says that “until a couple of weeks ago, Bolivia was regarded as a success story”-by those who “regard” a country while disregarding its people. But now, he continues, “the international community has to recognize that the economic reforms have not really done anything to solve the growing problems of poverty”; they may well have deepened it. The secretary of the Bolivian bishops’ conference, which mediated an agreement to end the crisis, described the protest movement as “the result of dire poverty. The demands of the rural population must be listened to if we want lasting peace.” 40

The Cochabamba protests were aimed at the World Bank and the San Francisco/London-based Bechtel corporation, the main financial power behind the transnational conglomerate that bought the public water system amidst serious charges of corruption and give-away, then doubled rates for many poor customers. Under Bank pressure, Bolivia has sold major assets to private (almost always foreign) corporations. The sale of the public water system and rate increases set off months of protest culminating in the demonstration that paralyzed the city. Government policies adhered to World Bank recommendations that “no subsidies should be given to ameliorate the increase in water tariffs in Cochabamba”; all users, including the very poor, must pay full costs. Using the internet, activists in Bolivia called for international protests, which had a significant impact, presumably amplified by the Washington protests over World Bank-IMF policies then underway. Bechtel backed off, and the government rescinded the sale.41 But a long and difficult struggle lies ahead.

As martial law was declared in Bolivia, a report from southern Colombia described the spreading fears that fumigation planes were coming to “drop their poison on the coca fields, which would also kill the farmers’ subsistence crops, cause massive social disruption, and stir up the ever-present threat of violence.” The pervasive fear and anger reflect “the level of dread and confusion in this part of Colombia.” 42

Another question lurks not too far in the background. Just what right does the US have to carry out military operations and chemical-biological warfare in other countries to destroy a crop it doesn’t like? We can put aside the cynical response that the governments requested this “assistance”; or else. We therefore must ask whether others have the same extraterritorial right to violence and destruction that the US demands.

The number of Colombians who die from US-produced lethal drugs exceeds the number of North Americans who die from cocaine, and is far greater relative to population. In East and Southeast Asia, US-produced lethal drugs contribute to millions of deaths. These countries are compelled not only to accept the products but also advertising for them, under threat of trade sanctions. The effects of “aggressive marketing and advertising by American firms is, in a good measure, responsible for ... a sizeable increase in smoking rates for women and youth in Asian countries where doors were forced open by threat of severe US trade sanctions,” public health researchers conclude.43 The Colombian cartels, in contrast, are not permitted to run huge advertising campaigns in which a Joe Camel counterpart extols the wonders of cocaine.

Thanks to the US passion for “free trade” and “freedom of speech” for advertisers of murderous substances, global cigarette exports have expanded sharply, with a fivefold increase from 1975 to 1996, 44 a dramatic illustration of some of the welfare outcomes of the fanatic political theology that elevates “trade” to the highest rank among human values-“trade” in quotes, because of the highly ideological construction of the concept.

We are therefore entitled, indeed, morally obligated, to ask whether Colombia, Thailand, China, and other targets of US trade policies and aggressive promotion of lethal exports have the right to conduct military, chemical, and biological warfare in North Carolina. And if not, why not?

We might also ask why there are no Delta Force raids on US banks and chemical corporations, though it is no secret that they too are engaged in the narcotrafficking business. We might ask further why the Pentagon is not gearing up to attack Canada, now displacing Colombia and Mexico as a supplier of marijuana; high-potency varieties have become British Columbia’s most valuable agricultural product and one of the most important sectors of the economy (in Quebec and Manitoba as well), with a tenfold increase in the past two years. Or to attack the United States, a major producer of marijuana with production rapidly expanding, including hydroponic groweries, and long the center of manufacture of high-tech illicit drugs (ATS, amphetamine-type stimulants), the fastest-growing sector of drug abuse, with 30 million users worldwide, probably surpassing heroin and cocaine.45 There is no need to review in detail the lethal effects of US drugs. The Supreme Court recently concluded that it has been “amply demonstrated” that tobacco use is “perhaps the single most significant threat to public health in the United States,” responsible for more than 400,000 deaths a year, more than AIDS, car accidental alcohol, homicides, illegal drugs, suicides, and fires combined; the Court virtually called on Congress to legislate controls. As use of this lethal substance has declined in the US, and producers have been compelled to pay substantial indemnities to victims, they have shifted to markets abroad, another standard practice. The death toll is incalculable. Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Peto estimated that in China alone, among children under 20 today, 50 million will die of cigarette-related diseases, a substantial number because of highly selective US “free trade” doctrine.46

In comparison to the 400,000 deaths caused by tobacco every year in the United States, drug-related deaths reached a record 16,000 in 1997. Furthermore, only 4 out of 10 addicts who needed treatment received it, according to a White House report.47 These facts raise further questions about the motives for the drug war. The seriousness of concern over use of drugs was illustrated again when a House Committee was considering the Clinton Colombia Plan. It rejected an amendment proposed by California Democrat Nancy Pelosi calling for funding of drug demand-reduction services. It is well known that treatment and prevention are far more effective than forceful measures. A widely cited Rand Corporation study sponsored by the US Army and Office of National Drug Control Policy found that funds spent on domestic drug treatment were 23 times as effective as “source country control” (Clinton’s Colombia Plan), 11 times as effective as interdiction, and 7 times as effective as domestic law enforcement.48

But the inexpensive and effective path will not be followed. Rather, the “drug war” is crafted to target poor peasants abroad and poor people at home; by the use of force, not constructive measures to alleviate the problems that allegedly motivate it, at a fraction of the cost.

While Clinton’s Colombia Plan was being formulated, senior administration officials discussed a proposal by the Office of Management and Budget to take $100 million from the $1.3 billion then planned for Colombia, to be used for treatment for US addicts. There was near-unanimous opposition, particularly from “drug czar” General Barry McCaffrey, and the proposal was dropped. In contrast, when Richard Nixon-in many respects the last liberal president-declared a drug war in 1971, two-thirds of the funding went to treatment, which reached record numbers of addicts; there was a sharp drop in drug-related arrests and the number of federal prison inmates. Since 1980, however, “the war on drugs has shifted to punishing offenders, border surveillance, and fighting production at the source countries.” 49 One consequence is an enormous increase in drug-related (often victimless) crimes and an explosion in the prison population, reaching levels far beyond that in any industrial country and possibly a world record, with no detectable effect on availability or price of drugs.

Such observations, hardly obscure, raise the question of what the drug war is all about. It is recognized widely that it fails to achieve its stated ends, and the failed methods are then pursued more vigorously, while effective ways to reach the stated goals are rejected. It is therefore only reasonable to conclude that the “drug war,” cast in the harshly punitive form implemented in the past 20 years, is achieving its goals, not failing. What are these goals? A plausible answer is implicit in a comment by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the few senators to pay close attention to social statistics, as the latest phase of the “drug war” was declared. By adopting these measures, he observed, “we are choosing to have an intense crime problem concentrated among minorities.” Criminologist Michael Tonry concludes that “the war’s planners knew exactly what they were doing.” What they were doing is, first, getting rid of the “superfluous population,” the “disposable people”-“desechables, “ as they are called in Colombia, where they are eliminated by “social cleansing”; and second, frightening everyone else, not an unimportant task in a period when a domestic form of “structural adjustment” is being imposed, with significant costs for the majority of the populations.50

“While the War on Drugs only occasionally serves and more often degrades public health and safety,” a well-informed and insightful review concludes, “it regularly serves the interests of private wealth: interests revealed by the pattern of winners and losers, targets and non-targets, well-funded and underfunded,” in accord with “the main interests of US foreign and domestic policy generally” and the private sector that “has overriding influence on policy.” 51

One may debate the motivations, but the consequences in the US and abroad seem reasonably clear.

Excerpted from Rogue States, 2000

  • 1Arms transfers, Adam Isacson and Joy Olson, Just the Facts: A Citizen’s Guide to US Defense and Security Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean (Latin America Working Group and Center for International Policy, Washington DC, 1999). For background and sources not cited here, see my Deterring Democracy, chaps. 4 and 5; and my World Orders Old and New, chaps. 1 and 2. See also Javier Giraldo, S.J., Colombia: The Genocidal Democracy (Common Courage, 1996). On the correlation, see Lars Schoultz, chap. 10, p. 127, in this volume. For broader confirmation and inquiry, which helps explain the reasons, see Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, Political Economy of Human Rights, vol. 1, chap. 2. 1. 1; Herman, The Real Terror Network (South End, 1982), 126ff. There is a substantial literature of case studies.
  • 2Martin Hodgson, “The coca leaf war,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 2000. Officially, Colombia states that “Plan Colombia will cost a total of $7.3 billion, of which $4.2 billion will be financed by the Colombian Government, and $3.1 billion contributed by the international community,” with $1.08 billion for “a counter-narcotics strategy.” Press release, Colombian Embassy, Washington, DC, June 2, 2000. “Intentional ignorance” is the phrase used by human rights monitors Donald Fox and Michael Glennon, commenting on Washington’s decision “not to see” the terror it was carrying out, through proxies, in Central America. “Report to the International Human Rights Law Group and the Washington Office on Latin America,” Washington DC, April 1985, 21. Also Glennon, “Terrorism and ‘intentional ignorance,’ “ CSM, March 20,1986. See my Necessary Illusions, 78.
  • 3Fiscal years. On US arms transfers, see Tamar Gabelnick, William Hartung, and Jennifer Washburn, Arming Repression: US Arms Sales to Turkey During the Clinton Administration (World Policy Institute and Federation of American Scientists, Oct. 1999). For review of US-Turkey counterinsurgency programs, see my The New Military Humanism.
  • 4Judith Miller, NYT, April 30, 2000. The other great achievers in the war against terrorism are Spain (at least, those members of the government who have not yet been jailed for torture and atrocities for their counterterrorism activities) and Algeria, a reference that surpasses comment. The report and review merit much more extensive discussion.
  • 5Reuters, May 9, 2000 (datelined Ankara); AFP, May 26, 2000. AP, BG, Chicago Tribune, WP (brief excerpt), May 27,2000. Anne Komblut, “Congress sees differences on China, Cuba,” BG, May 27,2000. Kinzer, “Turkey Reviews the Darkest Hours in Its Painful Past,” NYT, May 28, 2000. Kinzer, “Turkish Study Finds Torture of Prisoners Is Widespread,” NYT, June 4, 2000, noting that “the mostly Kurdish population has long complained of bad treatment by police” in the southeast; not quite the full story. On Kinzer’s rendition of Turkey’s massive ethnic cleansing and terror operations of the ’90s, and of the Clinton administration’s contribution to them, see my The New Military Humanism. For review of his impressive feats of suppression of US atrocities and undermining of diplomacy in his previous post in Nicaragua, see my Necessary Illusions.
  • 6Merely to illustrate, as the April military assaults were being organized, editors of eight newspapers in a Kurdish province were facing possible three-year prison sentences if found guilty of spelling a Kurdish festival Newroz instead of Nevroz, as in Turkish orthography (AP Worldstream, March 25, 2000).
  • 7Ferit Demer, Reuters, datelined Tunceli, Turkey, April 1, 2000. Chris Morris, Guardian (London), April 3, 2000. “Arab League Denounces Turkish Incursion into Iraq,”Mena (Cairo),April 4,2000; Kurdish News Bulletin, April 1-16, 2000. A US database search found only AP, Los Angeles Times, April2, 2000, 326 words. Rubin, US Dept. of State daily press briefing, April 4, 2000; M2 Presswire.
  • 8Federal News Service, Defense Dept. Briefing, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, “Turkey’s Importance to 21st Century International Security,” Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC, March 31, 2000; Charles Aidinger, “US Praises Key NATO Ally Turkey,” Reuters, March 31, 2000.
  • 9Human Rights Watch, The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links, Feb. 2000. Martin Hodgson, CSM, April 26, 2000 (UN Report). State Dept. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 1999 and 1998. 1999 report cited by Hodgson, “coca leaf war.” Swedish director quoted by Ana Carrigan, “Dogs of war are loose in Colombia,” Irish Times, May 6, 2000.
  • 10Winifred Tate, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Oct. 6, 1999. Comision Colombiana de Juristas, “Panorama de los derechos humanos y del derecho humanitario en Colombia: 1999,” Sept. 1999; see Colombia Update 11:3-4 (Winter/ Spring 2000). Bland, “Colombia: Don’t forget the lesson of Salvador,” LAT April 10, 2000. UNICEF, CODHES, cited by Maurice Lemoine, “The Endless Undeclared Civil War,” Le Monde diplomatique, May 2000.
  • 11Federal News Service, May 1, 2000, State Dept. Briefing.
  • 12Lindsay Murdoch, The Age (Australia), April 8, 2000; Barry Wain, Asia editor, WSJ (Asia edition), April 17, 2000. On East Timor and Kosovo, see my essays “in Retrospect” and “ ‘Green Light’ for War Crimes,” published in several languages and versions in 1999-2000, updated in my A New Generation Draws the Line.
  • 13Ibid., and The New Military Humanism for details and sources.
  • 14AFL-CIO, “Statement on the Situation of Labor in Colombia and US Policy,” Feb. 17, 2000, distributed by WOLA. Human Rights Watch, World Report 2000 (Human Rights Watch, Dec. 1999).
  • 15In April 2000, the FARC announced the formation of a new political party, the Bolivarian Movement for a New Colombia, calling for “a new political, social, and economic environment ... that would make the use of arms unnecessary.” AP, April 30,2000, Miami Herald Web site, and Reuters, El Nuevo Herald (Miami), cited in Weekly News Update on the Americas 535 (April 30, 2000). The new party “will, however, remain clandestine for now to prevent its leaders from being slaughtered, said FARC commanders.” Vivian Sequera, AP, BG, April 30, 2000.
  • 16Steven Greenhouse, NYT, March 15, 1994. See my World Orders Old and New for further quotes and comment.
  • 17Arlene Tickner, general coordinator of the Center for International Studies at the University of the Andes, Bogota, “Colombia: Chronicle of a Crisis Foretold,” Current History, Feb. 1998.
  • 18Lars Schoultz, Human Rights and United States Policy toward Latin America (Princeton, 1981), 7. Vizquez Carrizosa, and further background, see references of note 1.
  • 19Michael McClintock, “American Doctrine and Counterinsurgent State Terror,” in A. George, ed., Western State Terrorism (Polity-Blackwell, 1991), 139; McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft (Pantheon, 1992), 222.
  • 20Ibid., 227.
  • 21On the programs of the guerrillas, see Andres Cala, “The Enigmatic Guerrilla: FARC’s Manuel Marulanda,” Current History, Feb. 2000; Karen DeYoung, “Colombia’s Non-Drug Rebellion,” WP National Weekly, April 17, 2000. See also the FARC “agenda for negotiations,” in Adam Isacson, “The Colombian Dilemma,” International Policy Report (Washington, DC: Center for International Policy), Feb. 2000.
  • 22James Wilson, “Rebels tax plan outrages Colombia,” FT, April 28, 2000. Also Carrigan, op. cit.
  • 23Larry Rohter, “Colombia Agrees to Turn Over Territory to Another Rebel Group,” NYT, April 26, 2000; Alma Guillermoprieto, New York Review, May 11, 2000. For analysis in more depth, see Lemoine, op. cit., discussing the appeal of the FARC to many peasants and working people who see it as “the army of the poor,” and particularly to women, who now constitute one-third of its forces, because of its break from oppressive and degrading practices that are particularly harsh at the depths of poverty and desperation.
  • 24James Wilson, “Colombia’s citizens get the chance to confront rebels,” FT, April 26, 2000.
  • 25La Prensa Grafica (San Salvador), April 28, 2000; cited in Weekly News Update on the Americas 535, April 30, 2000; also earlier updates cited there. Kintto Lucas, Interpress Service (Quito, Ecuador), March 23, 2000.
  • 26For background and analysis, see particularly Arnold Chien, Margaret Connors, and Kenneth Fox, “The Drug War in Perspective,” in J.Y. Kim, J. Millen, A. Irwin, and J. Gershman, eds., Dying for Growth (institute for Health and Social Justice/Partners in Health, Cambridge MA [Common Courage, 2000]).
  • 27General Accounting Office, Drug Control: Narcotics Threat from Colombia Continues to Grow, June 1999.
  • 28Alan Feuer, “US Colonel Is Implicated in Drug Case,” NYT, April 4, 2000.
  • 29John Donnelly, BG, March 9, 2000. See “Paramilitary Leader Goes Public,” Latinamerica Press (Peru), March 20, 2000.
  • 30 deYoung, “Colombia’s Non-Drug Rebellion.”
  • 31Cala, “Enigmafic Guerrilla.” Ricardo Vargas Meza, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Illicit Drug Trade (Accion Andina [Bolivia], TNI [Netherlands], WOLA [Washington, DC]), June 1999.
  • 32Ibid. Also Vargas, “Drug Cultivation, Fumigation, and the Conflict in Colombia” (TNI and Accion Andina Colombia), Oct. 1999; Hodgson, “coca leaf war.” Also Larry Robter, “Colombia Tries, Yet Cocaine Thrives,” NYT, Nov. 20,1999, on opposition by the Colombian government and farmers to the US insistence on crop-destruction programs rather than the crop-substitution programs they prefer. On current plans for the use of biological in addition to the usual chemical weapons, see “UN to Unleash Biowar Against Colombian Cocaine Plant,” AFP, March 8, 2000, reporting an article in the British journal New Scientist (March 9, 2000) on a plan funded by the US and UN to conduct open field trials of a fungus (Fusarium oxysporum) so far tested only in US government greenhouses. “The biowar tactic is being considered because of the failure of crime busters to stamp out the coca crop,” AFP reports. Farmers in Peru claim that a fungus that has sharply reduced coca production there “has also mutated and is killing many traditional crops, including bananas, cacao, coffee, com, lemon grass, papaya, and yucca,” but “US government officcials insist that charges that they are connected in some way to the fungus are groundless.” Eric Lyman, “US Accused of Creating Blight Killing Coca Plants and Harming Other Crops,” San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 4, 1999.
  • 33Walter LaFeber, “The Alliances in Retrospect,” in A. Maguire and J.W. Brown, eds., Bordering on Trouble: Resources and Politics in Latin America (Adler & Adler, 1986). Joseph Treaster, “Coffee Impasse Imperils Colombia’s Drug Fight,” NYT, Sept. 24, 1988. On Food for Peace and the effects of US “export subsidies” and on the use of counterpart funds, see William Borden, The Pacific Alliance: United States Foreign Economic Policy and Japanese Trade Recovery, 1947-1955 (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1984),182C For more general information, see Tim Barry and Deb Preusch, The Soft War (Grove, 1988). On the background, see also Chien et al., “The Drug War in Perspective,” in Dying for Growth.
  • 34Susan Strange, Mad Money.- When Markets Outgrow Governments (Univ. of Michigan, 1998),127.
  • 35See chap. 10, in this volume.
  • 36Tim Weiner, “Congress Agrees to $7.1 Billion in Farm Aid,” NYT April 14, 2000; Nicolas Kristof, “As Life for Family Farmers Worsens, the Toughest Wither,” NYT, April 2, 2000; Laurent Belsie, “Collapse of Free-Market Farm Economy?,” CSM, Match 23, 2000. For detail and informative analysis, see National Farmers Union (Saskatoon, SK, Canada), The Farm Crisis, EU Subsidies, and Agribusiness Market Power, report presented to Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Ottawa, Feb. 17, 2000.
  • 37One current illustration is the reaction to the Declaration of the South Summit in the Havana meeting of April 2000. It condemned the Westem-instituted foals of “globalization” and called for “an international economic system which will be just and democratic,” emphasizing the “right to development” that the US rejects, also condemning “the so-called ‘right’ of humanitarian intervention” and any military or economic intervention to prevent countries from developing their own “political, economic, social, and cultural systems,” with many specific charges and proposals. As is customary, the declaration of countries accounting for 80 percent of the world’s population was unreported and ignored.
  • 38Adam Isacson, “Getting in Deeper,” Center for International Policy, International Policy Report (Feb. 2000); Linda Robinson, World Policy Journal (Winter 1999-2000); Cala, “Enigmatic Guerrilla.” Larry Rohter, MYT, Nov. 20, 1999, reporting the “dismay” of Colombian officials, who are overruled; Rohter, “To Colombians, Drug War Is Toxic Foe,” NYT, May 1, 2000, on the effects of spraying in violation of regulations (applied in the US), and US Embassy denials. See note 32.
  • 39Gwen Robinson and James Wilson, FT, March 30, 2000; Michael lsikoff, Gregory Visdca, Steven Ambrus, “The Other Drug War,” Newsweek, April 3, 2000.
  • 40AP, NYT, April 10, 2000; Peter McFarren, AP, BG, April 10, 2000; Reuters, AP, April 18, 2000; Richard Lapper, “Anger in the Andes,” FT, April 26, 2000; Francis McDonagh, National Catholic Reporter, April 28, 2000.
  • 41Jim Schultz, The Democracy Center, Bogota, April 9, 2000; San Jose Mercury News, April 8, 2000; Democracy Center, April 13, 2000; Pacific News Service, April 13, 2000; San Francisco Examiner, April 19, 2000; In These Times, May 15, 2000.
  • 42Kirk Semple, “Antidrug Efforts Sowing Fear in Colombia,” BG, April 10, 2000.
  • 43Alvin Winder, Ted Chen, and William Mfuko, “Influence of American Tobacco Imports on Smoking Rates Among Women and Youth in Asia,” International Quarterly of Community Health Education 14:4 (1993-94), 345-59; Chen and Winder, “APACT: Its Organization and Impact on Resistance to US Tobacco Imperialism,” International Quarterly of Community Health Education 12:1 (1991-92), 59-67. See also chap. 10, p. 150, in this volume. On the USTR hearings that forced Asian countries to open their doors to US lethal drugs and aggressive advertising at exactly the time when George Bush announced the new “drug war,” and the astonishing media reaction to these two simultaneous events, see my Deterring Democracy, chap. 4. On Colombian vs. US deaths, see Peter Boume, World Development Forum 6 (June 1988), cited by Joyce Millen and Timothy Holtz, “Transnational Corporations and the Health of the Poor,” in Kim et al., Dying for Growth.
  • 44 Stephen Bezruchka, “Is globalization dangerous to our health?,” Western Journal of Medicine 172:332-334, May 2000.
  • 45Colin Nickerson, “A Northern Border Menace,” BG, April 26, 2000. UN lntemational Drug Control Programme, World Drug Report (Oxford, 1997). See my Deterring Democracy for some of the interesting record on banks and chemical corporations, and Washington’s reaction.
  • 46Linda Greenhouse, “Excerpts From [Supreme Court] Opinions,” NYT, March 22, 2000. Peto, see chap. 10, note 94, in this volume.
  • 47John Donnelly, BG, March 22,2000.
  • 48Dissenting Views of Hon. Nancy Pelosi and Hon. David Obey in House Committee Report 106-521 on H.R. 3908, March 14, 2000, distributed by WOLA.
  • 49John Donnelly, BG, Feb. 21, 2000.
  • 50Michael Tonry, Malign Neglect: Race, Crime, and Punishment in America (Oxford, 1995). See Juan Pablo Ordonez, No Human Being Is Disposable (Columbia Human Rights Committee, Washington, DC, 1995). Ordonez is another human rights activist who was compelled to flee the country under death threats. On policy consequences for the US population, see Marc and Marque-Luisa Miringoff, The Social Health of the Nation (Oxford, 1999), the latest Index of Social Health report of the Fordham Institute for Innovation in Social Policy, which monitors social indicators (as is done by government bodies in other industrial countries). Their most striking conclusion is that social indicators tracked GDP closely until the mid-1970s, and have since declined, leaving the US below the level of 1959, in what they call a “social recession.” The shift coincides with the onset of official “globalization” and the domestic version of selective “neoliberal reforms.”
  • 51Chien et al., “The Drug War in Perspective,” in Kim et al., Dying for Growth. On the criminal justice system past and present, see Randall Shelden, Controlling the Dangerous Classes: A Critical Introduction to the History of Criminal Justice (Allyn and Bacon, forthcoming).