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March 2006
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Congress tells ONDCP to test Biological Weapons

Just when I think we can sink no lower.
Buried in the ONDCP re-authorization that the House passed with only 5 “no” votes was this piece of crap (pdf, see page 30):

(n) REQUIREMENT FOR SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF MYCOHERBICIDE IN ILLICIT DRUG CROP ERADICATION.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall submit to the Congress a report that includes a plan to conduct, on an expedited basis, a scientific study of the use of mycoherbicide as a means of illicit drug crop elimination by an appropriate Government scientific research entity, including a complete and thorough scientific peer review. The study shall include an evaluation of the likely human health and environmental impacts of such use. The report shall also include a plan to conduct controlled scientific testing in a major drug producing nation of mycoherbicide naturally existing in the producing nation.

Marc Souder sponsored the overall ONDCP re-authorization, and the specific biological warfare section was inserted by Dan Burton (also from Indiana).
More information on this is available at the U.N. Observer, which notes:

Speaking to the Colombian daily El Tiempo on Monday, former Colombian President AndrÚs Pastrana, now Bogot˝’s Ambassador in Washington, emphatically reiterated Colombia’s opposition to the plan, telling the paper, “During my government we opposed it. And Colombia’s position, now under President Ťlvaro Uribe, has not changed.” […]
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) prohibits all biological warfare, including attacks on crops. The BWC has no exemptions – not for the Drug War, nor for the US Congress. The US eradication project thus violates the BWC’s Article I, which prohibits development and stockpiling of biological weapons.
The main biological weapons agents under US consideration are strains of the fungus Fusarium oxysporum that attack coca and other illicit crops. With its serious human health and environmental risks, F. oxysporum has been dubbed “Agent Green” by civil society opponents, who liken it to the defoliant Agent Orange that was used by the US in Vietnam. In the US conception, huge amounts of specially-formulated Fusarium would be sprayed from large military aircraft to blanket large portions of Colombia and, potentially, other countries.
The HR 2829 provision does not specifically mention Colombia or Fusarium, although it does specify that the testing plan should be for a “major drug producing nation”. This opens the possibility that the tests could be conducted elsewhere, such as Central Asia, where the US has supported development of biological weapons for use against opium poppy. Given past events, however, the bill’s language is widely interpreted to refer to Colombia.

The moral poverty of our Congress is astonishing.

An interesting discussion on drug policy available online

I discussed at some length the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) report on drug policy by David Boyum and Peter Reuter. AEI recently hosted a discussion about the report, bringing in the authors and several drug policy “experts.” (I use quotation marks, because that description can be somewhat hard to define.) The entire session video is […]

Coca: as always, we demonize without understanding

In the piece about Morales giving Rice a guitar with coca leaves on it, I noted that the U.S. government has no understanding of the cultural background of these countries. This article by Niko Kyriakou really points out that gap.

The war against coca–the plant used to make cocaine–has become a defining issue for U.S. […]

Drug Testing Summit going on Today

Tom Angell of Dare Generation Diary is live-blogging the Drug Testing Summit in Falls Church, Virginia. They’ve brought in the big guns. The Drug Czar himself is there to promote his government-sponsored fetish of watching children pee in a cup. SSDP has been doing a great job keeping on top of this issue. You can […]