March 1, 2002
Narco News '02
II of a Series
Charged with Terrorism
Invokes "National Security"
Brand Name of Herbicide
Giordano and S. González
DC: In a Federal courthouse on Wednesday,
February 27, a red-haired and red-faced Rand Beers of the US
State Department was placed under oath by attorneys for indigenous
peasants in Ecuador.
Beers was grilled to reveal facts about
the US-sponsored herbicide fumigation program in Colombia regarding
the "accidental fumigation" across national borders
The deposition was part of the proceedings
surrounding the historic class-action suit brought by Ecuador's
peasants with the assistance of the International Labor Rights
last week by Narco News.
Beers was accompanied by a platoon of
government and private attorneys, including defendant DynCorp's
counsel Joe Hollingsworth of the Spriggs & Howard law firm
and R.Y. Morrel, a DynCorp vice president, as well as State Department
attorney Dennis Gallagher, Justice Department attorney William
Rivera and an attorney from the Pentagon (at press time, we have
not yet been able to identify him.)
International Labor Rights Fund attorney
Terry Collingsworth interrogated Beers about the conduct of the
DynCorp defendants in their contract with the U.S. government
to exterminate, from airplanes, cocaine and poppy plants in large
tracts of the Amazon rainforest that are owned by private citizens
Invoking "national security"
Beers refused to answer questions about the specific commercial
name of the herbicide being used in the US-sponsored Plan Colombia.
(Narco News asks: What on earth does a brand name possibly
have to do with "national security"?)
Beers also refused to disclose the width
of the "no spray zone" at the Ecuador-Colombia border,
although he acknowledged that there was one.
Beers did admit that "Plan Colombia
is not supposed to take place in Ecuador," and that the
herbicide mixture used for fumigation "has never been tested,"
confirming key claims by the indigenous Plaintiffs.
According to the Plaintiffs, the DynCorp
defendants also sprayed large sections of Ecuador that border
Colombia, causing severe physical and mental damage to the Plaintiffs,
their children and other similarly situated lawful residents
of Ecuador. The lawsuit alleges that the citizenry has been subjected
to grave human rights abuses, including systematic damage to
their persons and property, torture, extra-judicial killings
and crimes against humanity in violation of the Alien Tort Claims
Act ("ATCA"), 28 U.S.C. §1350, the Torture Victims
Protection Act ("TVPA"), international human rights
law, and the statutory and common tort law of the District of
See the full legal complaint at:
a post-deposition interview, Collingsworth
told Narco News that the deposition went "wonderfully."
According to Collingsworth, Rand Beers stated that "Plan
Colombia is not supposed to take place in Ecuador," and
that the mixture used for fumigation "has never been tested,"
confirming criticisms of the program.
Also appearing at the deposition on behalf
of the Plaintiffs are United States attorneys Cristobál
Bonifaz, John Bonifaz and Natacha Thys.
A transcript of the deposition is being
prepared and will be made available as soon as possible on Narco
more Narco News, click
National Security: The Truth