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Plan Colombia is a Fraud

Prohibitionists make themselves useful to governments by enabling drug geopolitics to influence weaker governments and cultures on behalf of more aggressive and dominating groups.

Illustrating the tactic, human rights activist John Lindsey-Poland, author of Plan Colombia, U.S. Ally Atrocities and Community Activism, reveals the drug war in Colombia to be a scam, a vehicle linking its legitimacy to countering drug trafficking. Its purpose is to support US and international corporate interests operating in Colombia. It uses DEA personnel, taxpayer funding, and US materials to achieve its goal, while drug enforcement is made a sideshow:

The Andean Initiative announced by President George H. W. Bush in August 1989 was followed quickly by a $65 million emergency delivery of equipment that included tens of thousands of weapons, warheads, and mortars, part of $127 million in U.S. nominally counterdrug assistance to Colombia that year. Although the military openly acknowledged that its missions were not focused on counterdrug operations, which were carried out by police, more than three-quarters of the package went to the military. [Kindle 873]

As the 1990s progressed, debate heated up among policy makers about the purposes of the U.S. role in Colombia. Official policy dictated that U.S. activities were restricted to fighting the production and trafficking of narcotics, particularly cocaine, and were not to cross the line into counterinsurgency. Some leaders saw the drug war as better terrain on which to establish the legitimacy of a U.S. role than fighting guerrillas, which politically had gone poorly in both Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Central America. This official line met with increased resistance from counterinsurgency hawks, especially military officers, both U.S. and Colombian. [Kindle 948]

“We need to find a mechanism,” former ambassador Morris Busby told Congress in 1997, “which will permit us to express our extreme displeasure with the political leadership of a country such as Colombia … but at the same time permit us to go forward with assistance to gentlemen like Generals [Harold] Bedoya [army commander] and Serrano [police chief].” [Kindle 958]

Such an outlook did not require proving that the United States had ulterior motives to fight a drug war. Instead, it measured the negative impact of escalating war, as well as the results of counternarcotics operations, which were ineffective by any meaningful measure (such as the ease of buying and street price of narcotics and the relative efficacy of treatment). [Kindle 983]

The indigenous people of Colombia were targeted as guerrillas or supporters of FARC by corrupt military and paramilitary units eager to produce an abundant body-count favored by military leaders. Meeting the quotas was rewarded with cash bonuses and holiday perks. Between 1990 and 2010 US funded and trained soldiers occasionally raided remote villages using machetes to slaughter its inhabitants, men, women and children, scenes vividly described by the author who interviewed witnesses. The innocent victims were dismissed as “false positives.”

The 1997 Leahy Amendment, the 2011 to 2017 updated Foreign Assistance Acts, and an impressive worldwide human rights public relations campaign directed at Colombia curtailed the attacks and led to the arrests of 4000 Colombian military personnel.

Partial justice for Colombians is not why some US politicians claim Plan Colombia is successful. Drug interdiction was a failure. Coca growers continued production by relocating into larger territories and reducing the size of their plots to escape aerial detection. The success was measured in developing and testing policies and strategies for intervening in countries such as Colombia, Mexico, or Afghanistan to combat communists, insurgents, socialists, journalists, witnesses, critics, and any others deemed threatening to business interests. Colombia has since become the US training center for foreign military operatives in the tradition of the infamous School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. Prohibited drugs filled their traditional roles as scapegoats and a means of foreign and domestic social exploitation.

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13 comments to Plan Colombia is a Fraud

  • DdC

    Stop the War on Colombians!
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  • kaptinemo

    30 years of failure…and, again, all thoroughly predictable…and predicted. And some of those predictions were made by drug law reformers: http://cannabisnews.com/thcgi/search.pl?K=+colombia&H=320&T=t

    Going back 20 years. Read from the bottom up.

    Predictable. Predicted. A modern-day Greek tragedy, all completely avoidable. And like Cassandra, nobody listened to the reformers.

    • Hope

      As soon as I read this, “Plan Columbia is a fraud”. I thought…”Duh!” I believe we pointed that out, more than a few times, from its inception, didn’t we, Kaptinemo, over at C-News? They said it was about the War on Drugs. We said, way back when, that it was a cover for what it was really about. Big, big oil interests.

      • kaptinemo

        Hope, nothing about that supposition has been proven false. Nobody needed 20 years of hindsight to see Plan Colombia was doomed from the start.

        But because the people who immediately saw through the mask of lies happened to be trying to change drug laws, their protestations were immediately dismissed. The message was ignored because the messenger was deemed insufficiently ‘serious’. While absolute, effing Bush Too Era madmen were given the cachet of ‘experts’ as they plotted ecocide in the name of the DrugWar.

        The Absurdity of the Drug War in Columbia (ca. 2000)

        We now have legal proof of what drug law reformers had always held as truth, that the chemicals that were used in the ‘fumigation’ efforts in Colombia, particularly glyphosphate (aka Roundup) caused cancers. Untold numbers of Colombian and Equadorian campesinos were no doubt killed by this crap…just as drug law reformers said they would be. What’s that old line about a prophet in his own country is seldom honored?

  • JackOLantern

    There never was, there’s never been, and there’ll never a be a war on drugs.

    The only war is on and against ordinary, unsuspecting people.

    A tug of war where competing powers recycle positions shoving trillions in Russian, Israeli, British, French, German, Canadian, and U.S. weapons and technical training upon developing countries in exchange for natural resources, cocaine, opium, and kilotons of cash.

    The result of the above is, on the one hand, entire nations physically devastated, in ruins, and millions of desperate human beings fleeing to “civilized” countries, begging for bread crumbs to survive on.

    On the other hand, there’s Goldman Sachs et al., with their political, socioeconomic, industrial, marketing, and military affiliations around the globe, inflating their never-popping bubble at the expense of the ordinary, unsuspecting, 99%.

    The same ordinary, unsuspecting, 99% that consumes and pays for the merchandise.

  • Hope

    Kaptinemo, “Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”” Mark 6:4 That statement surely did, and likely, does apply to drug law reformers. My own step-father, when I told him how I felt about the injustice and corruption of the damned War on Drugs… He told me, of course, that I should move to another country if I didn’t like the laws here. Aaargh. I didn’t like the drug laws anywhere! But that reaction was par for the course. Or, “You may be right, but we’ll never see a change in our lifetimes.” Telling people about the benefits that had been noticed, anecdotally or scientifically, brought on the, “I can’t believe that” responses. So I adopted another one of Jesus’s admonitions about that. “Don’t throw your pearls before swine.” But here we are! And it feels fine! Love you, Kap. You’ve been my mentor in this struggle from the very start of my tip toeing in.

  • Hope

    Kaptinemo, you have been a magnificently accurate “Prophet” during this struggle. How do you tell who is a true prophet? They are always right! And that is true of you. One thing you always said, “They wouldn’t end it because it was the right thing to do. It would end when they ran out of money. The Drug War is a rich man’s game and they will run out of access to funding one of these days.” My rendition of your eloquent words … but it’s amazing how you have always been right in predicting the twists and turns of the battle. I salute you! Again!

    • kaptinemo

      Hope, I’m just one of who-knows-how many tens of thousands of people in the reform circles who know this charade of a DrugWar has always been about a much bigger game. For example, it’s been 20 years since ace female Army pilot Jennifer Odom’s plane crashed in Colombia under circumstances that even today rank as highly mysterious…if not downright suspicious. The way everything was handled was the kind of thing you find in top-notch spy novels.

      Special Forces teams sent in to grab equipment and blow up the evidence…and no autopsy of bodies. Oil, drugs, shady characters in high places, corruption of a wife of Odom’s Army chief who worked at the US embassy there, etc.

      No one has ever really explained what was actually going on, and I suppose we’ll never know what that brave woman and her aircrew found out was really going on that cost them their lives. That’s the nature of the damnable Drugwar, but a lot of us have known from the get-go it has always been a colossal fraud.

  • Mouthy

    Does Plan Colombia explain what we are doing in Afghanistan? We keep our friends supplied with drug money to keep their cooperation, which leads to drug money insurgencies sprouting up, because the other side wasn’t getting a fair deal, while keeping the drugs remaining in Afghanistan just to allow us justification to remain in that nation: to secure it from the Taliban and to rebuild it (one poppy at a time).

    Aramco and Russia and Trump dropping interest rates means he’ll send more troops to Afghanistan . . . We’ve got China in Chinese finger traps in regards to Afghanistan’s minerals, though China will still buy Iranian oil, which is cheaper for their expansion project and Russia works closely with Iran and with Subarctic drilling planned for Russia, we’ll need to keep drugs illegal just to further justify keeping our troop there to secure the wealth that is Afghanistan . . . one Giant Platinum Bullion, nestled between a junkie, religious fanatics and ‘Democracy’ in a contextual frame.

    • kaptinemo

      You want an answer? Two words: ‘strategic metals’. On the surface, A-stan is what our current Prez would refer to as a ‘shithole country’.

      But in fact, beneath the Afghan’s feet is one of the biggest and richest deposits of nearly every conceivable rare strategic metal you can imagine. And it was the Soviets who found that out back when they had invaded A-stan. It’s been known that long. The drugs are nothing compared to the mineral wealth that mining companies all over the world want a crack at.

      • AE

        aye kap, a few of us been sayin’ that for awhile. Of course the one resource that will continue to climb in importance (strategic) and value as it becomes evermore scarce is clean, original source, water.

  • DdC

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