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The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

Today's Press Briefing

September 7, 2000

Ecuador Civil Society Wants US Airbase at Manta Closed

Publisher's Note: Two days ago, Narco News published a report, for the first time in English, that El Salvador's major opposition party has filed federal suit to stop the US "anti-drug" military base near the nation's capital of San Salvador.

Not since the 1970s has Washington drawn a "yanqui go home" backlash like the $1.3 billion Plan Colombia military intervention has provoked throughout América.

The latest development comes from Ecuador, neighbor country to Colombia and host of the Manta US military airbase, the most key "Forward Operating Location" (FOL) in Washington's plan. The Ecuadoran Congress and an international movement among Civil Society -- with an observer team led by German philosopher Heinz Deiterich -- are moving to pressure the illigitimate government of Ecuador to assert its neutrality in the Plan Colombia conflict and eject the US airbase at Manta from national territory. This, as the indigenous-popular rebellion throughout Ecuador heats up again.

Also on Narco News today: Venezuela President Hugo Chávez explains exactly why Plan Colombia is so reminiscent of Vietnam.

And Colombian paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño admits: It's not just the drug traffickers behind his terror squads, but also "legal" international business interests.

But after a brief flourish of US and English-language press coverage around President Clinton's August 30 trip to Colombia, just as the conflict now escalates the US correspondents in Latin America have gone AWOL again.

From the daily El Nacional in Caracas, Venezuela

Wednesday, September 6, 2000

US Presence in Manta Airbase Criticized

from the EFE news agency, Quito, Ecuador

The German philosopher Heinz Dieterich, member of a civil delegation that monitors the impact of Plan Colombia in Ecuador, said that the government of (deposed) Ecuador president Jamil Mahuad made a "grave error" in permitting US military troops to occupy the airbase at Manta.

"The grave error of the Ecuadorian government was to rent the base at Manta, because there are going to be warplanes in its territory. This is the principal base to attack the Putumayo region (in Colombia)," said Dieterich in an interview with radio Noti Hoy.

Author of more than 20 books, among them "Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization" together with Noam Chomsky, Dieterich said that Plan Colombia will seriously affect the civil population, many of whom wil flee to Ecuador where refugee camps are already planned for the displaced.

The current Ecuadorian government, led by Gustavo Noboa, said that the Manta base does not form part of Plan Colombia, but various social movements and political analysts believe that to permit the installation of this US center of operations involves Ecuador in a "foreign war."

The indigenous population and social movements reject the US presence in the Manta base saying that it represents a violation of national sovereignty. Last January, the US installed a center-of-operations against drug trafficking in the region at the Manta base.

Dieterich said that the objective of Plan Colombia is not drug trafficking but rather the guerrilla and assured that it was conceved by the United States, "designed by Washington," and that it will provoke a "tremendous massacre of the civil population."

from the daily El Universo, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Tuesday, September 5, 2000

"Noboa must revise the Manta contract"

QUITO.- Only the president of the Republic, Gustavo Noboa, as chief of the country's foreign policy, can revise the terms of agreement for the use of the Manta base, sigend between the governments of Ecuador and the US during the Jamil Mahuad regime.

The head of the Democratic Left Bloc (ID) of Congress, Wilfrido Lucero, recalls that at the time the contract did not pass through the hands of Congress, and because of that, its application is the responsibility of the executive branch.

Lucero's response leaves the demand of the social and indigenous movements that Congress cancel the Manta base contract with the US goes unanswered...

Regarding Plan Colombia, the congress will consider the report of the International Affairs Commission on the proposed resolution that Ecuador declare itself neutral in the conflict.

From the EFE news agency

Wednesday, September 6, 2000.

Chávez insists on comparing Colombia to Vietnam

Venezuela president Hugo Chávez said yesterday that the Vietnam War began little by little, similar to what could happen in Colombia.

"That's how Vietnam began. First ten helicopters, later another ten, and so on. In recent days a US phantom plane was alost and seven solders died," said Chávez, before travelling to New York to attend the Millenium Summit of the United Nations.

The Venezuelan president said that the arrival of 60 US Black Hawk helicopters to Colombia has everyone worried, including the Colombian people, "Because these are signals."

"It remains to be seen what 60 of these bugs, these death machines, are. Some were here during the Vargas tragedy but then they gave life," siad Chávez remembering the abilities that those machines demonstrated during the natural disaster that isolated the Northern coastal region of Caracas last December.

"There is concern and nervousness and I have said this to President Pastrana, with frankness and friendship, because I believe we are right to be bothered," said the Venezuelan president.

Chavez's comments were related to the arrival of Colombian civilians escaping into Venezuelan territory from the violence unleashed in their home regions.

"It is a human problem and a painful one, but Venezuela has always been in solidarity with the pain of the Colombian people. I understand this reality because I lived many years near the border," he said.

Chávez added that it is logical that the displaced people are afraid to stay in their own lands under the violence of the guerrilla, drug trafficking and, above all, the paramilitaries.

"I imagine the terror with which the children in the mountains of Colombia are living after the mistake some days ago, when they massacred six children believing they were guerrillas," said Chávez....

Updated 7:31 AM ET September 7, 2000
By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

...Carlos Castano, commander of the national paramilitary umbrella organization known as the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia, said in Colombia on Wednesday that rightist militias were enjoying growing support and funding from private business executives.

Castano did not name any of his alleged backers by name. He claimed, however, that his 6,000-strong militias count on the "growing support" of local and international businesses fed up with leftist guerrillas....

NOTE: In that AP story, the news agency neglected to quote the words from the same letter by the paramilitary leader when he admitted that drug traffickers gave more money and support to the paramilitaries than "legal" businesses.

September 5, 2000

From the Mexican news agency Notimex

El Salvador's Ex-Guerrillas Protest Against US Anti-Drug Base

They say the US installation violates the sovereignty and the constitution of the country

The Salvadoran ex-guerrilla party opposed legislation creating a US regional anti-drug base in a lawsuit filed before the nation's supreme court.

Congressman Leonel González of the ex-guerrilla party Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) said that the lawsuit was filed because "the legislative decree violates the sovereignty and the constitution of the country."

The regional anti-drug base, aimed at fighting the narco-traffickers that operate in the region, is part of a treaty signed last March between the governments of El Salvador and the United States. The treaty was ratified in July, but opposed by the FMLN, and took effect on August 23.

According to the agreement, the regional base will be installed in the international airport of Comalapa, south of the capital. It will count with a number not yet determined of P3 airplanes and US personnel and monitoring equipment. The security employees are authorized to wear uniformes and carry arms while working. "This violates our sovereignty, our independence and our territory," said González, one of five ex-guerrilla commanders of the FMLN during the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.

To avoid internationalizing the Colombian conflict, the FARC will not cross into Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brasil, September 3 (AP) - The Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) pledged not to cross into Brazil so as to "not internationalize the Colombian conflict," according to a document they sent to the Brazilian press.

The document was published by the daily Folha de Sao Paolo in which the FARC said: "WE want to reassure our neighbors, the territory of our fight is Colombia, and for that will not be brought to another country."

The document, signed by Iván Reis, a high commander of the FARC, said the group "will not internationalize the popular struggle in neighbor countries because it would provide a pretext for military troops including from the US to help the government."

It was predicted that similar documents will be sent to Venezuela, Perú, Panamá and Ecuador.

Brazil and Venezuela are considered with full trust by the insurgents, but not Ecuador because it maintains a US military base in its territory, nor Panamá for its traditional closeness to the US, nor Perú because it waged a bloody fight against terrorism within its own territory...

From El Espectador, Bogotá, Colombia

Sunday, September 4, 2000

Respect for the Vice

by Lisandro Duque Naranjo

I can imagine what would have happened 80 years ago, during the North American prohibition on alcohol, if the president of the United States had executed the idea of a "Plan Scotland" to fumigate the barley crops and erradicate the principle ingredient for the making of whiskey in that European country....

...It's no coincidence that North American fiction is replete, since the last century, of heroes who cross the border into Mexico to hallucinate with peyote. Nor that during the brief Kennedy era, the majority of youths who enrolled in the Peace Corps were obsessed with Colombian marijuana and cocaine from Perú and Bolivia. (There are those who say that the increase of these crops in those countries resulted from the tastes of those young pilgrims.) Nor that in Vietnam there had been innumerable numbers of American soldiers who were stoned all the time, something that was noticed when the war ended.

To make the product available in drug stores with a warning that "it is damaging to health" would put an end to Al Capone. And it would save millions of dollars and a lot of blood for us.

September 4, 2000

Gullible Press Believed Spain's Claim of S.A. Cocaine Siezure

The Folly of Reporting Based on "Official Sources"

From the Spanish News Agency EFE

Monday, September 4, 2000 (Madrid Time Zone)



Las Palmas, Spain, Sep 3 (EFE).- Spanish authorities continued searching Sunday for what they had said were at least five tons of cocaine aboard a seized freighter but acknowledged that, three days after the vessel was boarded by elite troops, no drugs have been found.

Special Spanish anti-narcotics agents and elite troops, some of them descending from rope ladders dropped from helicopters, on Thursday boarded the Sao Tome-registered "Privilege" on the high seas about 200 miles south of Spain.

Eighteen crewmen were released Sunday, though the vessel's Panamanian captain and his Mexican second-in-command remained under arrest.

Anti-narcotics authorities in Madrid held a press conference Saturday to announce what they called one of Europe's biggest seizures of drugs in recent years.

Sources in Las Palmas said the failure to find any drugs could be due to the size of the 120-meter-long (nearly 400 feet) vessel, which was carrying a cargo of steel coils from Venezuela to Italy.

Police sources said shipbuilding experts have been called in to help authorities determine if compartments may have been constructed along the hull to hide the illegal shipment.

Narco News Commentary: The government of Spain continues its 500 year war upon América, now in alliance with Washington, and one of the only European nations that backs the $1.3 billion Plan Colombia military intervention.

The Spanish government held a loud press conference on Saturday to announce the "record siezure" of an alleged five tons of cocaine on a Brazilian ship carring Venezuelan steel coils to Italy.

Now it turns out, there is no cocaine on the ship.

After three days of searching the ship, the alleged "five tons" of cocaine is suddenly not there.

But the lack of hard evidence did not stop AP, Reuters, UPI, AFP and EFE news agencies, and the newspapers and media outlets that use their materials, from publishing or broadcasting this lie of international proportions.

What motive did the Spanish government have for announcing the siezure of five tons of cocaine that it had not even seen, much less siezed?

Narco News will explain the truth that no official news agency will tell: The powers behind Plan Colombia are upset that South American nations Brazil and Venezuela have not signed up for duty in the dirty war underway in Colombia.

This "siezure" of thin air was motivated by a desire to pressure and discredit the governments of Brazil and Venezuela -- indeed, to punish them -- for asserting their sovereign democratic rights to make their own decisions as nations.

The Narco News Bulletin published in our June editorial the news out of Perú that the Spanish government had placed a spy as a top political consultant to the presidential campaign of Alejandro Toledo:

We have also covered the failed efforts of the Spanish government to convince the European Union to support Plan Colombia.

More significant, however, is how this story clearly demonstrates: The press should not take "official sources" on their word until corroborating the facts through real reporting.

And, it corresponds, the public can not believe the official press coverage on Plan Colombia or other drug war matters until the press rediscovers Authentic Journalism.

The market-driven media seems very far from that awakening today.

The Spanish authorities have had three days to locate five tons of cocaine on a single ship and have come up empty handed.

On Wednesday in Colombia, "Darling," the drug-sniffing dog, caught it's wafting aroma within three seconds.

But legions from Spain cannot find five tons after three days.

Ah, but the tale of "Darling" is another story for another day...


Update on our Saturday story about "Body Counts" and war coverage:

As Narco News reported on Saturday, the major English-language wires were caught in a Vietnam war-style distortion of the death toll from battles in Colombia following the Clinton visit last Wednesday.

Colombian authorities followed suit by artificially raising the guerrilla death toll in the key battle by the round number of 50; from 12 deaths documented by cadavers to 62 claimed by Colombian military authorities -- officials who had lost communication with the scene of the battle -- and again repeated by the unquestioning English-language wires and press.

Now comes Associated Press reporter Margarita Martínez to set the record straight (Narco News thanks our collaborators among rank-and-file AP reporters who raised a stink over the previous distorted body-count reports from Colombia).

Martínez writes on Sunday, September 3rd:

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - A surge of rebel violence left 35 people dead over the weekend following President Clinton's visit to Colombia, including seven police officers slain by guerrillas - some of whom were disguised as police.

In the latest attack, leftist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, sneaked up on a police station Saturday in northern Colombia, officials said Sunday...

The guerrillas arrived in three trucks and a jeep, some dressed in camouflage and others as police. Rebels shot to death the four officers posted at the station and ambushed reinforcements as they arrived, killing three more policemen...

Nine officers survived the attack, in which rebels also destroyed the public telephone office in the town in Guajira State, about 475 miles from the capital, Bogota.

At least one FARC fighter died, police said.

Twenty-seven other people were killed in heavy overnight clashes that ended Saturday in western Colombia. Twelve of them were FARC rebels.

Associated Press was unable to confirm previous reports of "62 rebels dead" and has now trimmed its numbers to:

13 guerrillas dead

22 military and police dead

1 US warplane downed

Although AP still neglects to mention:

60 prisoners liberated by the guerrila

But AP has yet to correct one untruth. Martínez writes:

At the mountaintop communications complex they were protecting, eight soldiers died in fighting with guerrillas.

The rebels were unable to take the complex, which controls cellular and other telephone links to much of western Colombia.

This is the problem when US news agencies send reporters to cover guerrilla insurgencies when those reporters themselves have never spent a single night "on the mountain". They don't understand the dynamics of guerrilla war -- its aims and objectives -- and the badly-informed US public remains in the dark.

The guerrilla strategy would not have been to "take the complex" (and hold it, AP wants us to believe? Do any of these so-called journalists use common sense in their reporting?). Rather, the textbook guerrilla strategy would be to down the communications system and then disappear back into the night.

According to Spanish-language reports cited Saturday on Narco News, the communications system was, in fact, knocked out of action.

Thus, the guerrilla succeeded in its objective against the communications base, as it did in the attack on the police station (where it also downed the cellular communications system for an entire region), and as it did in the liberation of more than 60 prisoners from a jail in the three major battles since Clinton's visit.

From the coast of Spain to the jungles of the Amazon, Plan Colombia -- like the drug war that it serves -- is a disaster and a failure in its first week of combat.

Is anybody at the central offices of US media paying attention? Does anybody in those places care about the facts anymore?

September 2, 2000

US Media "Body Count" Games Begin in Plan Colombia

By Al Giordano

As the US media argues about whether "Plan Colombia" is another Vietnam, another El Salvador, or none of the above, the behavior revealed by US press coverage of the first major battle in the Plan Colombia war is distinctly reminiscent of the 1960s.

During the Vietnam War, US media outlets -- now documented by hundreds of books and scholarly studies -- consistently lied about the "body count." That is to say, more "enemy deaths" would be reported than occured and always the goal was to keep the "allied" body count at a number less than "enemy" casualties.

The first major Post-Clinton visit battle in Colombia occured in the pre-dawn hours this morning. Six hundred guerrilla troops attacked a key Colombian military communications installation near Pueblo Rico (site of a recent paramilitary atrocity against civilians).

The first English-language report came from Associated Press. It noted that a US-made C-47 phantom airplane "crashed" into a mountain at dawn, with loud official denials that it had been shot down by the Colombian rebels. (If true that it simply "crashed," what does that say about the quality of US training of Colombian pilots and troops?):

"The C-47 airplane outfitted with .50-caliber machine guns crashed at about 5 a.m. as it was heading back to base from the scene of the fighting, a government military officer said on condition of anonymity. The fighting has been centered at a main communications complex on Mount Montezuma, 155 miles west of the capital, Bogota.

"There was no word on how many people were aboard the plane, and the military officer said it was not clear if there were survivors. He denied that the plane had been shot down, saying it apparently crashed because of a "technical failure."

Meanwhile, in the ground war battle, the AP reported the death of "8 Colombian soldiers" and "12 rebels" -- the implication being that the score is 12 to 8 in favor of Plan Colombia:

"At least eight government soldiers and 12 rebels died in the ground combat at a communications complex on Mount Montezuma, 155 miles west of the capital, Bogota. The clash was the bloodiest since President Clinton visited Colombia on Wednesday to support President Andres Pastrana's fight against drug traffickers and leftist rebels who protect drug crops. "

Thus, the shrill insistence that the US war plane was not downed by rebels, because seven more military soldiers and pilots died in that crash, reversing the "body count" score from 12 to 8 in favor of the military, to 15 to 12 (plus a C-47 war plane!) in favor of the rebels. Associated Press continues:

"Air Force Gen. Jairo Garcia insisted the plane was not shot down. He said poor visibility may have been a factor, because the crash happened just before dawn in cloudy weather.

"The plane, which was used extensively by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War and was known as "Puff the Magic Dragon," had been providing fire support for the ground troops.

"The Pentagon had equipped the plane with Forward-Looking Infrared Sensors, or FLIRS, and night-vision goggles, said Gen. Alfredo Velasco, Colombia's air force chief. The pilots had been trained in night-flying either by U.S. military pilots or by other Colombian pilots who had received training from the Americans, Velasco told reporters.

"The fighting began Friday afternoon at the communications complex, which controls cellular and other telephone links to much of western Colombia."

The rebel forces have not yet been quoted in the English-language press on their "body count" statistics nor their version of how the war plane was downed. Most probably they are still in battle and not issuing press releases. Nor does the press, even exclusively with "official" sources, say that the communications systems that were target of the attack remained unscathed. Sometimes what they don't say is as revealing as what they do say.

Meanwhile, the Mexican news wire service NOTIMEX, with correspondents in Colombia, says that among the 15 Colombian casualties was a high-ranking colonel, leader of a key division, and other military brass:

(President Pastrana) "visited the family of the commander of the San Mateo Battalion, Colonel Jorge Eduardo Sánches, who died in the rebel attack on the Army communication post.... In the action, attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a major official, a submajor official and six soldiers lost their lives guarding the military base that was attacked with rockets and grenades."

And the daily El Tiempo, of Bogotá, cleared up the matter of whether rebels had succeeded in their objective of downing the vital communications post:

"After the battle, communication with the military base in the mountains was lost."

Meanwhile, Reuters reports (in Spanish) of another simultaneous battle in which the guerrilla won the day:

"In addition to the battles and the military plane accident, the FARC attacked a prison in the Southwestern state of Cauca and liberated 60 prisoners."

Nothing, yet, in English, on this battle, won by the guerrilla.

So as the North American media debates whether Plan Colombia is "another Vietnam," watch the media's deeds instead of its words. Because already the English-language press is behaving like it did decades ago with its "body count" games and selective coverage of the Vietnam conflict.

Note on yesterday's Narco News Press Briefing: The major US dailies have now conflicted each other on what happened at the South American Summit of Presidents that was held on Thursday and Friday in Brasilia, Brazil.

The Washington Post headline stated:

- "S. American Leaders Give Qualified Support to Plan Colombia" - Washington Post (September 2, 2000)

The New York Times headline stated:

- "Latin Leaders Rebuff Call by Clinton on Colombia" - NY Times (September 2, 2000)

Again, look to the South American press for a clearer picture of what really happened. As Clarín of Argentina reported from its correspondent's direct witness of the events:

"South America Says NO to Clinton and Plan Colombia"

September 1, 2000

"South America Says NO to Clinton and Plan Colombia"

"Presidents Cardoso (Brazil), De la Rúa (Argentina) and Lagos (Chile) firm in the principle of anti-interventionism" Photo by the daily Clarín


September 1, 2000

from the daily Clarín in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Colombia: South America says "no" to Clinton

The US had asked for regional support to the military assistance plan against the narcos

But the presidents defended the principle of no intervention

By ELEONORA GOSMAN. Special Correspondent in Brasilia

The aspirations of the US government related to Colombia went adrift yesterday in the Summit of the Presidents of South America. And this, in spite of the pressure caused by the hurried trip by Bill Clinton to Colombia, made on Wednesday for a brief lapse of 9 hours.

The principal leaders participating in this unprecidented meeting, that seeks to create the bases for an integrated South American commercial union, distanced themselves from the Colombian question and particularly the insistence by Washington that they join in "Plan Colombia" of the anti-drug fight.

Some of those gathered in Brazil beleive that the North American visit to Cartagena de Indias was a "maneuver" to destroy the "positive agenda" of South America....

At the hour of making the serious decisions, the Argentina President Fernando de la Rúa, opted to play hard: He joined his principal partner, Brazil, elbow to elbow as a Colombian journalist asked, defiantly, "Do you support Plan Colombia or not?"

De la Rúa responded without leaving space for doubt: "We support the constitutional government of Colombia." He reiterated the policy of non-intervention and signaled, "We wish Colombia success in its peace gestures."

With this he wanted to demonstrate as he said in another moment, that Argentina rejects any military adventure that complicates the situation of other countries in the region. There, he distanced himself from Clinton's call...

The President of Argentina commented: "The Ecuadoreans are worried that the coca crops displaced from Colombia might descend into their country."

The Brazilian President sustained later in the opening speech of the Summit that South America will not tolerate "abuses in the region."...

The hardest line against Plan Colombia was expressed by Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela and one of the principal allies of Brazilian President Cardoso, such that he was one of the leaders that the Brazilian president invited to a private dinner. For the Venezuelan, US military presence in Colombia puts peace at risk in Venezuela, Brazil and other South American nations.

He criticized the United States sustaining that "before thinking of solving drug trafficking problems in other nations with acts of violence, they ought to do something to reduce the high consumption of drugs in their own territory." And then he gave a hard hit: He said that the fortunes generated by drug trafficking "end up in the banks of the United States and other industrialized nations and don't do anything for the development of the countries affected by the production of drugs."

More Updates This Afternoon from the Brasilia Summit and throughout América

August 30, 2000

"The Gringos Have Landed"

-- headline in Semana magazine, Bogotá, 8/30

US Presents the New Colonial Viceroys to Colombia

Southern Command Installs US General in Country

AOL Exec (Now Running CNN) Leads Delegation of US Business Leaders to Collect the Spoils of War

Today's Reports from: Cartagena and Bogotá, Colombia; Brasilia, Brazil; Quito, Ecuador; Lima, Perú; Miami, Florida; Washington, DC; Seattle, Washington; Hamburg, Germany; Managua, Nicaragua; and Mexico City.

Today's Summary: Clinton lands in Colombia as Pentagon installs military general in Bogotá and US business magnates are presented to the Colombian government to begin to collect upon the spoils of war.

Among the US businessmen in Cartagena today is the president of AOL, America Online, which, as Matt Drudge reports today, has taken over CNN, Cable Network News. We point out that this is just in time for CNN's Gulf War-style yellow combat journalism to resurrect in tandem with the Colombian war that begins this week.

Meanwhile, popular revolts sweep not only Colombia, but also Ecuador and Nicaragua, as 12 South American presidents head toward Brasilia for tomorrow's major Summit meeting. Plan Colombia is now drawing criticism from the Right as well as the Left, including from Miami Herald syndicated columnist Andrés Oppenheimer, who calls for greater US respect of human rights, and from Ecuador's leading business newspaper, El Comercio.

And a key Clinton adminstration document released today admits that Plan Colombia's program of herbicide erradication using the Fusarium fungus complicates and jeopardizes global talks to limit biological warfare.

August 30, 2000

El Universal, Cartagena, Colombia

"Important world businessmen have arrived in Cartagena to participate in the Clinton-Pastrana Summit"

Colombian foreign minister Guillermo Fernández De Soto said that a key group of US businessmen met last night with President Pastrana, his economic team and Colombian businessmen

Colombian industrialists and the government will seek to take advantage of today's meeting to establish commerce and business relations with a very powerful group of North American counterparts who said they identified with Colombian desires....

The US Businessmen:

Today the president of American Online, one of the most important telecommunications conglomerates in the world, James V. Kimsey, comes to Colombia. Also in Cartagena are: Duane Ackerman, president of BellSouth telecommunications company: Paul Charron, president of the cosmetics company Liz Claiborne; Martha Behar, Latin American president of Nortel Networks; Ted McNamara, president of the Council of the Americas; Gary Drummond, president of the Drummond Company, and Robert Hefner, president of the Seven Seas Oil Company.

Also here are Joseph Robert of J.E. Robert Companies; Frank Caufield of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers; Dennis Bakke of Aes Corp.; Juan García of Global Crossing; Mike Kappaz of KMR Power; Jore Fernández of Delta airlines; Larry Martin of the American Apparel Manufacturing Association; Sam Schwab of Schwab and Company; Mariella Mahan of Assets and Development; Charles Andreae of Vick Associates; John Gulla of Hartmax Corp.; and Martin Trust of The Limited....

Excerpt from the Drudge Report on AOL's new power over Cable Network News

To see full story click:



It is out with the new and in with the old as CNN attempts to go back-to-basics with hopes of stopping its audience slide by pooling resources into hard news and breaking news coverage.

"We will be back, stronger than ever," said one well-placed source near the network's reactor core, "with one mission: to inform!"

....Since the proposed merger between TIME WARNER and AOL was announced, CNN, instead of reporting to founder Ted Turner, reports directly to Bob Pittman, a top executive at AOL.

Pittman -- with the blessing of his boss Steve Case and TIME chair Gerry Levin -- is said to be driving the changes at CNN.

[Pittman's "breaking news" instincts, however, are questionable. Pittman and AOL had exclusive rights for more than 96 hours to the very first Monica Lewinsky reports. Pittman, who read the stories featured on AOL [Keyword: DRUDGE], did nothing to highlight the developing story anywhere on the AOL system -- stories that would soon lead to the impeachment of a sitting president. Pittman waited until the WASHINGTON POST, ABC NEWS and NEWSWEEK ran versions. To regain CNN's urgent glory days, Pittman will have to be slightly more creative.] ....

Filed By Matt Drudge
Reports are moved when circumstances warrant for updates

(This was an excerpt) To read full story click:

From Associated Press:

"U.S. To Send General To Colombia"

Updated 5:14 AM ET August 30, 2000

MIAMI (AP) - The Pentagon plans to send an Army general to Bogota to oversee part of its $1.3 billion Colombian anti-drug aid package, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Keith M. Huber, director of operations at the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, will implement the military portion of the plan, the newspaper said. He will be the only U.S. general posted in South or Central America.

Huber, 47, is likely to travel to Colombia in September. Details of his assignment have yet to be determined, military sources told the Herald.

"We have no official decision on this temporary appointment," Southern Command spokesman Raul Duany said.

Huber, a one-star general with a 25-year career in the Army and background in Special Forces, was appointed by Marine Gen. Charles Wilhelm....

August 30, 2000

Combined wire reports from Bogotá:

"Protests Against Clinton Intensify"

Guerrillas launch wave of attacks just hours before his arrival

An arsenal is discovered in Cartagena

BOGOTÁ (AP, DPA, AFP, ANSA and Reuters).- Colombian guerrilla groups launched an offensive in different parts of the country while the protests by students and labor unions grew; all with the objective of rejecting the visit that US President Bill Clinton makes today to Cartagena de Indias.

Meanwhile, the Colombian Attorney General seized arms and munitions in an elegant building in the tourist zone of Bocagrande, Cartagena, that will not be visited by Clinton. There they found two AK-47 rifles, an R-15 rifle, a revolver, 280 bullets, a shotgun, a communications radio and ski-masks.

The attacks began with the activation of three bombs against banks in the southeast of Cali where pamphlets of the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC) were found opposing the visit.

The second largest subversive group in the country, the National Liberation Army (ELN) also released a communiqué in Cali and announced terrorist attacks with the same goal.

FARC members placed a roadblock in a Caribbean highway in the state of Sucre and burned six tractor-trailers that were also pained with slogans against Clinon, while a toll booth was dynamited in a highway of another Carribean state, Magdalena. Military sources said that an 11-year-old girl died during a FARC attack against the population of La Uvita in the central state of Boyacá, and two police officers were shot by presumed guerrillas in the towns of San Antonio and Anzoátegui in the central-eastern state of Tolima.

In Fortul, a town in the eastern state of Arauca, on the border with Venezuela, six military soldiers were wounded in an attack by the FARC against a barracks. One of the most grave acts happened in the highway that connects Bogotá with Villavicencio, state capital of Meta, where Army troops had to intervene to stop a blockade by the FARC. Traffic was suspended for various hours.

Elsewhere, the Army began an operation to regain control of the area of Nariñó, in the northwest state of Antioquia, which has been occupied for days by the FARC. In another type of protest demonstration, students of the State University of Antioquia caused disturbances in Medellín to reject the visit of Clinton and incinerated a public transportation bus.

At the same time students of the State Pedagocical University peacefully occupied the seat of the Andean Parliament, located in a commercial zone in East Bogotá. The major unions have planned large street demonstrations for today in various cities against "US intervention in Colombia."

...Cartagena has been polished and made-over, the street beggars have disappeared, the street vendors are on forced vacation and the thousands of men protecting (Clinton and the North Americans) will permit them to enjoy unlimited security.

Editorial from El Comercio, Quito, Ecuador

August 30, 2000

The Avatars of Colombia

God willing, the dream of one of the participatns in the Peace Recital of Colombia celebrated these days in Bogotá will be granted. It was when one of them voiced the aspiration that foreign money won't be necessary to end the violence.

Reality demonstrates, lamentably, something else. Colombian President Andrés Pastrana wants to lead -- in the name of his country -- the search for peace. The governor has made it really possible, including cease fires and withdrawlos. But he has not been able to advance in such a hard path. The good intentions have been diluted although the goal continues.

The presence, to some degree unexpected, of US President Bill Clinton in a Colombian city -- Cartagena -- marks the beginning of Plan Colombia. In other words, Pastrana and his country have taken a step while tacitly confessing the impossibility to confront an adversary of such size and such high economic power, alone.

In many long years of confrontation, the Colombian governments have not succeeded in erradicating the elder guerrilla movement or the powerful drug traffickers. This is the truth on the landscape. The peace projects with the subversives have not been made reality. A logical goal have been to avoid foreign intervention. It results, thus, sensitive that Plan Colombia has a high content of foreign economic contributions and this is a sign of the gravity of the problem.

The so-called Plan is aimed at drug trafficking, with the expectation that it will diminish the finances of the guerrilla activity. It's an interesting idea but has an audace root and risk. But nothing is easy yet in Colombia. The neighbor country is playing with dare cards that nobody wants them to put on the table.

The Colombian government is interested in insisting that this is not a war plan. But what cannot be ignored is that, the initial objectives being of another nature, the consequences are unthinkable. The case of Ecuador is in the line of fire. As has already been said on many occassions, the Manta airbase has a constant role in the Plan....

President Clinton comes taking steps that are bound to leave a large footprint when soon he gives up his office. Today's visit has two lessons. The international nervousness about Colombia and the dimension of the Colombian problem. Both themes very unsettling and near to Ecuador.

August 30, 2000

from La Republica, Lima, Perú

Between the fears of the people and the threats of the FARC, Clinton and Pastrana will seal an anti-drug pact

Today the Plan, more criticized than supported, begins


By Miguel Gutiérrez R.

special correspondent, La República

CARTAGENA DE INDIAS.- With the guerrilla defiant and with five neighbor countries fearing that the violence will extend into their territories, US President Bill Clinton, today in this city, will give the symbolic launch of the so-called "Plan Colombia"...

...Nine hours in the city of Cartagena de Indias will be enough for the North American leader and his large delegation -- including the most hardliners of his administration -- to seal the most ambitious antidrug agreement ever made with any Latin American nation.

Alone, the government of Pastrana, his armed forces and a sector of the big business interests seem to be in agreement with the application of this project born under US auspices.

Others, such as human rights activists and representatives of displaced people fear that the anti-drug plan will transform into an open counter-insurgent war that increases the violence in the country even more.

Spokesmen of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), key player in the peace negotiations, but ignored in the formulation of "Plan Colombia," expressed their disagreement yesterday. They did so by making spectacular attacks in different parts of the country.

The FARC has declared that "Plan Colombia" is a virtual "declaration of war" against them and they will not hesitate to shoot down the US helicopters that enter the zone they control....

August 30, 2000

from La Folha of Sao Paolo, Brazil

Threat Seen at the Border

by Cristiane Jungblut e Eliane Oliveira

The government is reinforcing the military and federal police presence at the Brazilian border with Colombia to avoid that traffickers and guerrillas cross into Brazilian territory as the repression on drug trafficking increases in that country.

President Fernando Hernrique is worried about the consequences of Plan Colombia, a program to combat against drugs and the guerrilla with financial aid from the United States. He met yesterday with four key cabinet members to analyse the problem. After the meeting, the President's staff divulged "the necessity to augment our vigilance and presence in our territory by military and police forces was stressed."...

from The Sunshine Project
Press Release
29 August 2000


USA Admits Possible Link between
Biological Weapons and Agent Green

Seattle and Hamburg, 29 August 2000.

In an August 22 memorandum, US President Bill Clinton has conceded that the US
plan to use microbial agents to eradicate drug crops may have an
impact on biological weapons proliferation. This is the first time that
US officials have publicly admitted that the use of biological agents
like Fusarium oxysporum (dubbed "Agent Green") raises arms
control concerns.

The Sunshine Project has convincingly argued that F. oxysporum
and other mycoherbicides are biological weapons. Because of its
illicit coca crop, Colombia is on the front line of US biological
warfare plans. Other projects on biological agents to kill opium
poppy and marijuana are also funded be the US and the British

The Presidential memo waives several conditions for US
assistance to Colombia. In particular, Clinton overruled the US
Congress and severed the link between Colombian acceptance of
Agent Green and the overall implementation of the US 1.3 billion
dollar bilateral assistance package for Plan Colombia.

Clinton states that the US will not use Agent Green until "a broader
national security assessment, including consideration of the
potential impact on biological weapons proliferation and terrorism,
provides a solid foundation for concluding that the use of this
particular drug control tool is in our national interest." (from
Memorandum of Justification for Presidential Determination 2000-

According to the Sunshine Project's Edward Hammond, "This is an
important step forward. While important parts of the US
Government stubbornly refuse to withdraw support for Agent
Green, President Clinton has eased the bilateral pressure on
Colombia and admitted that this may have been a bad idea from the

Adds Sunshine's Jan Van Aken, "Agent Green is a biological
weapon. It was developed with a hostile purpose, intended to be
used in an armed conflict in Colombia. Use of Agent Green
threatens to undermine international agreements prohibiting
biological weapons. It must be stopped immediately, worldwide.."

It is important to note that the presidential memorandum does not
necessarily signal a change in US policy. "Pro-fungus parts of the
schizophrenic US Government could easily rebound. The
memorandum is a window of opportunity. Governments should
take fast action and exploit the possibilities for progress before the
window closes." says the Sunshine Project's Susana Pimiento.

The Sunshine Project is calling on governments and international
agencies to take the following steps:

o The United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), which
administers the US-funded work in Uzbekistan and is promoting
Fusarium testing in Colombia, should immediately freeze all of its
international projects on crop-killing biological agents and withdraw
the contract it offering Colombia. No government, much less a
United Nations agency, can take risks with bioweapons
proliferation. Work cannot resume until the arms control issues
have been resolved, a broader range of expert UN agencies have
independently evaluated the program, and UNDCP's governing
body has fully reviewed the work.

o With aid no longer conditional on acceptance of Agent Green
and with the US publicly admitting that it is uncertain about
bioweapons links, there is no reason why the Government of
Colombia has to proceed with the US-inspired biological eradication
idea. Colombia may now heal regional unease with the plan and
publicly withdraw from negotiations with UNDCP, halting any
planned research on Fusarium and other biological agents.

o The US Government must conduct a transparent review of the
US Department of Agriculture program that funded and developed
F. oxysporum and other crop-killing weapons. The USDA worked
for more than a decade on projects. A dangerous policy failure
has taken place if serious assessment of the treaty compliance
and proliferation aspects of this program have not been reviewed
until now - after agent identification, work on virulence
enhancement, delivery systems, and field testing.

o The current situation offers a remarkable opportunity to
strengthen the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC),
updating it to reflect new and different political realities and type of
conflict prevalent in the post-Cold War era. With the US leadership
having conceded there are proliferation concerns raised by the
drug war biological agents, during the next Review Conference of
the BTWC in 2001, states parties should leap on the opportunity to
insure that all crop-killing biological agents, especially those used
with hostile intent in an armed conflict, are banned by the


Opposition Increasing In July, the Ecuadorian Government
banned the introduction and use of Fusarium oxysporum. In an
editorial in its August 7th edition titled "Agent Orange and F.
oxysporum", the Managing Editor of Chemical and Engineering
News, the magazine of the American Chemical Society, called for a
halt to drug war bioweapon research. Accusing the US of
developing "dubious weapons systems", the editorial condemns
the program, saying, "There is an unavoidable moral component to
scientific research, and development of F. oxysporum as a
weapon in the war on drugs or any other war violates it. Scientists
should just say no to participating in this research."

August 30, 2000

from El Universal, Mexico City

"Wall of Containment" in the border of Perú

Strategy designed against exodus of Colombians

Possibly Israeli involvement in arms trafficking

By correspondent Gerald Ruiz and news agencies

LIMA - the Peru Intelligence Service (SIN) has designed a contingency plan before the possible repelling of the FARC toward its border and the eventual exodus of Colombians into Peruvian territory when Plan Colombia begins, said Peru's government minister Federico Salas.

Meanwhile, in Bogotá, it was known that the Attorney General investigated two Israelis who were captured last may and are related with arms trafficking from Jordan.

Although the militarization of the border with Colombia was denied, sources consulted by El Universal confirmed the deployment of 2,000 Army troops of Peru, at the same time that Brazil has moved its soldiers to the Colombian border. The Peruvian government acknowledged yesterday that the Brazilian brigades, of 8,000 heavily armed troops, were moved to the Amazon zone only hours before US President Bill Clinton visits Colombia.

High level sources close to President Alberto Fujimori confirmed to El Universal that his top intelligence advisor Vladimiro Montesinos has been charged with designing a military "containment wall", as it is almost certain that Colombians who live close to the Peru border will cross escaping the attacks of Colombian military forces and the FARC....

August 30, 2000

from La Republica, Lima, Perú

Fujimori arrives at the Brazil Summit ahead of 11 presidents

by Silvia Rojas

Alberto Fujimori is on his way today to the Brasilia Summit....

August 27, 2000

from The Oppenheimer Report

by Andrés Oppenheimer

Published Sunday, August 27, 2000, in the Miami Herald

Clinton should address human rights in Colombia

If the president is not careful, trip could have repercussions

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton's one-day visit to Colombia this week may be just a photo opportunity to help the Democratic Party look tough on drugs in the November U.S. elections, but the trip also has the potential to produce a dangerous backlash in Latin America....

....The trip on Wednesday to the coastal city of Cartagena has unleashed a barrage of criticism from U.S., Colombian and other Latin American human rights groups.

They say the U.S. military aid package will worsen human rights abuses by the Colombian military and the paramilitary groups they often protect. That, in turn, will trigger an even more violent reaction from the more than 15,000 Marxist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, they say.


In addition, Colombia's neighbors such as Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil fear that the U.S-backed military offensive will push drug traffickers and guerrillas to cross into their own territories. And President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, a former army officer who sees the world through military lenses, fears U.S. aid will turn the Colombian army into a formidable force that could become a threat to Venezuela, with which Colombia has an unresolved border dispute.

From what I heard here this week, the White House is confident that U.S. television images of a triumphant Clinton embracing Pastrana as a hero in the war on drugs will far overshadow the three-second sound bites that human rights activists may get to voice their concerns.

Clinton is expected to highlight the non-military portion of the U.S. aid package, about $240 million that will go to fund human rights monitors, judicial reform and economic development projects. And he will reassure the world that, under U.S. law, no more than 500 U.S. military trainers and 300 contract employees will be allowed to be in Colombia at any time, and that they will be barred from going into combat.

Will the world believe him? I'm not so sure....

If Clinton is looking beyond U.S. domestic politics and wants to help end the Colombian war, he should stress two key points during this trip:

· First, he should state that as a condition for releasing the future disbursements of the U.S. aid package, Colombia will have to take very concrete human rights steps laid out by the U.S. Congress. Among them, suspending military commanders known to have committed human rights violations, and prosecuting leaders of paramilitary groups.

· Second, he should make a call to encourage other Latin American nations to take a more active diplomatic role in the Colombian conflict.

``Latin American countries should become more engaged,'' says Peter Hakim, head of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank. ``Nobody is asking them to send troops or money, but to make it clear to European donor countries that Latin Americans support the peace plan.''

...Unless Clinton uses his visit to Colombia to speak bluntly about human rights and regional cooperation, his presence there will only draw new attention on the crisis, and make Colombia's neighbors more nervous.

August 29, 2000

from El Nuevo Herald

Indigenous Threaten the Government of Ecuador


QUITO - The leading Ecuadorian indigenous organization yesterday threatened the government with a "much harder" mobilization than the one last January that toppled the prior president.

"This government has not made any change for the country and less for the indigenous movement," said Antonio Vargas, president of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CNI).

He announced that tdoay the organization will hold an assembly to decide the date of an "indigenous uprising"...

"This mobilization is going to be much stronger than the one on January 21, because we have made agreements with many other sectors of the country," said Vargas in a TV interview.

On January 21, a march of 5,000 indigenous peasants on Quito received the support of the young Military leadership, that decided the toppling of President Jamil Mahuad who was replaced by Gustavo Noboa, then vice president.

Asked if the comparison with what occured on January 21 meant that the indigenous sought the fall of the Noboa government, the leader was evasive. "I'm not going to say in advance, but in an uprising anything can happen," he said.

Noboa, who just completed six months in power, confronts the anger of union organizations and politicians of the Left and the Center-Left that have threatened to unite in a grand national protest against the government, possibly allied with the indigenous, who represent 35% of the country's population of 12 million inhabitants.

The opposition considers that the government favors the monied classes of the country and accuses it of having promulgated a privitization law to benefit the businessmen and bring forward the dollarization of the economy causing harm to the poor...

August 30, 2000

from Associated Press, Managua, Nicaragua

"Danger of Revolt in Farmers March"

Agricultural Producers Demand that the Alemán Government restructure their debts

MANAGUA (AP).- Thousands of agricultural producers from the Northern part of the country will march tomorrow to demand that the government restructure their debts with private banks to avoid losing their properties. It is believed that this could degenerate into a rebellion against President Arnoldo Alemán.

The march is backed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and according to the former Army chief, Joaquín Cuadra Lacayo "it is creating a situation of general protest that we know how it will begin and nobody knows how it will turn out."

The actions already known in the Sandinista strategy are blockades of highways and demonstrations by students. The Nicarguan Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG) announced that some 30,000 farmers from the North of the country will march tomorrow toward the capital...

It is believed that the farmers and ranchers will be joined by transportation workers (Teamsters)...

August 30, 2000

Column from El Universal of Cartagena, Colombia

"Yes, my Bill"


"Certify me, Bill. Advise me, Bill. Investigate me, supervise me, track me, technify me, fumigate me, arm me, erradicate my evils, Bill. Worry about me, Bill. Fix my life, Bill. Teach me, Bill. Help me, your Geisha, to give you the caresses that you like and fill you with grace, dear Bill, beloved, Bill, adored... Yes, my Bill... I love Bill."

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