Newsbrief: Colombia -- It's Drug War -- No, Oil War -- No, Terror War 12/13/02

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US Secretary of State Colin Powell and drug czar John Walters went south of the border last week to continue the process of morphing the US war on the Colombian drug trade into an element of the global "war on terror." Powell was in Bogota on December 4 to meet with hardline Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and promise even more military assistance to his embattled rightist regime, while Walters made a day-trip to Mexico City to convince the Mexicans that fighting drugs was part of the fight against terror.

In Colombia, Powell told reporters the Bush administration would push for more than $500 million in mainly military assistance to Colombia as part of the US "war on terror." Aid at that level puts Colombia on a par with Afghanistan and Pakistan as a major recipient of US military and anti-drug aid. "We are firmly committed to President Uribe and his new national security strategy," said Powell. "We are going to work with our Congress to provide additional funding for Colombia."

The US has spent $1.8 billion on military, police, and anti-drug aid to Colombia since 2000, and the $537 million requested this year marks a significant increase from the $411 million allocated last year. $100 million of this year's request is for Colombian troops to guard an oil pipeline belonging to Occidental Petroleum. The first 60 US military trainers for the newly created pipeline protection brigade are slated to arrive next month.

Powell promised to seek even more money next year, telling reporters the issue of terrorism within Colombia could no longer be separated from the drug war. Powell added that he rejected any parallels to Vietnam.

Walters, meanwhile, was sounding similar themes in Mexico City. The "war on terror" will revitalize the drug war, he told foreign correspondents on December 4. The two endless wars go together because "drugs fund violence and anti-democratic forces," Walters explained. "We need to stop sending hundreds of millions of dollars to brutal, violent groups in Mexico and Colombia and our own country," he said. [Editors Note: DRCNet assumes he was not discussing military assistance to violent or out of control elements within Colombia's armed forces, Mexico's armed forces and US SWAT teams.]

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Issue #267, 12/13/02 DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: O, Canada! (Oh, the Embarrassment!) | Canadian House Drugs Committee Calls for Cannabis Decrim, Safe Injection Sites, Heroin Maintenance | Canadian Justice Minister Calls for Cannabis Decrim "Early Next Year" -- US Opposition Could Pose Obstacle | Britain Drops Old Drug Strategy Targets, Goals Were "Not Credible" -- New Strategy a Mixed Bag | Michigan Legislature Repeals Draconian Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences | New Jersey Court Declares State's Civil Forfeiture Funding Scheme Unconstitutional | Newsbrief: Santa Cruz Deputizes Medical Marijuana Providers | Newsbrief: Massachusetts High Court Blocks Arrest of Needle Exchange Participants | Newsbrief: Colombia -- It's Drug War -- No, Oil War -- No, Terror War | Newsbrief: British Ex-Minister Calls Ecstasy Law "An Ass" | Newsbrief: Israeli Green Leaf Party Eyes Knesset Seats | Newsbrief: Illinois Supreme Court Limits Use of Drug Dogs in Traffic Stops | Newsbrief: Paramilitary Drug Raid Tactics Anger Eugene Residents | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: SAMHSA Says Treat Drug Abusers' Mental Illness | Media and Resources: Medical Cannabis Conference Tapes, WOLA Report, Jacob Sullum in Reason, Deborah Saunders in SF Chronicle | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar
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