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The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

Today's Press Briefing

September 20, 2000


Governments and Media Deceive Public Over What Plans Colombia and Bolivia Have Wrought

Today's Reports From: Bogotá, Colombia; La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and London, England.

Narco News Summary: The development of the antidote to Fusarium Oxysporum -- reported by La Folha de Sao Paolo in Brazil and brought to the English-speaking world yesterday by Narco News -- should have been predicted by the very US forces trying to impose the mycological herbicide upon the Amazon.

The history of war holds one truth to be self-evident: every new weapons system provokes an equal and opposite reaction.

That was true of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. And it is true of biological warfare. Today we draw your attention to an Observer of London report that documents how the Fusarium anti-coca herbicide was developed precisely by US financed technicians and then passed on to British and Russian experts in biological weapons so that the US could avoid international embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Niko Price of the Associated Press joins the Hall of Shame (along with NY Timesman Larry Rohter) as publicist for war criminals. An article by Price claims that Colombia now will have kinder, gentler paramilitaries.

The irony of that story -- quoted in today's press briefing -- is that as Price was typing those incredulous words, the paramilitaries were rounding up and assassinating peaceful indigenous civilians. The facts are brought to you here on Narco News.

And the story comes from Spanish-language AP reports: the US desk decided not to report this news -- we accuse AP of withholding this information to save face on the embarrassing report by Niko Price. Only the Colombia Support Network, so far, has alerted on this story in English. We expand upon it today.

Narco News Update: 15 minutes after we filed this report, AP correspondent Margarita Martínez reported the story in English at 1:25 p.m.

Peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla forces are breaking down over the government's obstinate insistance that the fate of peace in Colombia shall hang upon one man's case: that of an escaped prisoner who hijacked a plane back into FARC territory. It's clear that the US-imposed policies on Colombia's unpopular President Andrés Pastrana are not aimed at bringing about peace, but, rather, using the civil war as a pretext to inflame and expand it until it reaches beyond the borders of other nations.

In a conflict that has a daily toll of death, kidnappings, disappearances, massacres of civilians and other atrocities by all sides, the focus on this one escaped prisoner demonstrates: Plan Colombia and its puppet Pastrana are not serious about seeking peace; the statements of US officials that the plan is aimed to force negotiations are lies with a high cost in blood and liberty.

Meanwhile, in Bolivia, peasant coca growers have begun a campaign of nonviolent resistance -- a la Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King -- to the militarization of their regions. Here are the reports from the front.

From somewhere in a country called América,

We shall overcome,

Al Giordano


The Narco News Bulletin

From Associated Press

Tuesday, September 19, 2000:

"Gentler War Promised in Colombia"

(AP really used that headline)

By NIKO PRICE, Associated Press Writer

LA MARINA, Colombia (AP) - Right-wing paramilitary forces waging a bloody battle in the mountains of west-central Colombia pledge to be more civil in their war against leftist guerrillas and boast that business owners are flocking to their cause.

His field hat cocked stylishly and his camouflage uniform impeccable, Commander Santos said his 500-man militia in the hills overlooking the city of Tulua were making a push to win over the people in the valley below.

"In this area, we want to be an example, a model, for the paramilitaries," he said in an interview Friday. "And let the good of what we do spread throughout the country."

No more, he said, will his men kill civilians - at least not without pinning a letter to their chests describing their offenses. No more will his fighters violate human rights, he said after meeting with a Swiss representative of the Red Cross. Well, at least not as often.

"We want to respect human rights as much as it's possible," Santos explained with the steady smile of a true believer. "Of course, we can't always abide by everything."

The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, as the militias are known, are waging a brutal war against the two main guerrilla groups that control much of the country....

"We are something like private security," Santos said. "Rich people, people with investments in this area, couldn't allow the guerrillas to take away everything. They sought out our maximum leader and said, `We have money, and we need your help."'

Business support for the paramilitaries is a hot-button political issue in recent days.

Testifying in congress this month, Defense Minister Luis Ramirez said the army shouldn't be judged so harshly for having ties to the paramilitary, when many business people support them too.

While Santos wouldn't say how much business owners contributed to his local force, he said they paid far more than the $250,000 it costs each month to maintain his unit, the Calima Block....

Tell it to the Families of the Dead

5:17 p.m. Tuesday, September 19, 2000:

from AP in Spanish to El Universal online, Mexico City

United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC) Paramilitaries Kidnap 22 Indigenous

Bogotá, Colombia 19/09/00

17:19 Indigenous peoples of the Embera Katía tribe of Northern Colombia denounced the assassination of four of its members and the kidnapping of 22 indigenous in recent days.

The United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC), the principal paramilitary group, were responsible for three of the deaths and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the fourth assassination, said the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (UNIC) today.

In addition to the assassinations, the Embera tribe denounced the kidnapping of 22 of its members in a roadblock. Fifteen people are still being held by the paramilitary group, said the spokeman of the community. The Embrea, like any other group of Colombians, have not been able to escape the escalation of the civil war that has now lasted 36 years. (AP)

Communique from the Mayor of the Indigenous Embera Katio Community

From: "Cabildo Mayor Embera Katio" <>

Indigenous Ebera Katios Assassinated and 22 more Kidnapped

The municipal governments of the Sinu and Verde rivers call to national and international public opinion:

Today, Sunday, September 17, 2000, were assassinated inside the Ebera Katío Indian Reservation:

JAQUELINO JARUPIA BAILARIN and his ANTONIO DOMICO in the town of Widó, located on the Esmeralda river. The facts occured, according to community members, in the morning hours when a group of heavily armed men, presumably members of the Autodefensas paramilitaries, arrived at the community in a helicopter and retained ANTONIO DOMICO and a son of his, who was later freed. At the same time MAISITO DOMICO was retained and when the paramilitaries left town they were assassinated. Their bodies were found lifeless on Sunday afternoon. The helicopter continued to fly over the reservation.

Yesterday three canoes that arrived with people and supplies necessary for development of the fishing industry in the indigenous communities of the Sinú and Verde rivers were kidnapped at 11 a.m. in the Bocas de Río Verde area and their equipment taken. The kidnapped individuals are:

RICARDO BAILARIN, captain of canoe

NARIÑO DOMICO, Nokó Mayor of the Río Verde

EFRAIN CHAMARRA, Municipal Secretary de Río Verde

ELKN RUBIANO, Education Coordinator




RUBIT DOMICO, Student of Teaching

MIGUEL DOMICO GARCIA, President of the Territorial Council of Río Verde

SAUL BAILARIN, Jenené Mayor of Río Verde






AGUSTÍN PERNIA, Canoe captain


In the community of Doza, Río Verda, the community traditional leader Maximiliano Domico was kidnapped and taken from the community. According to sources he was brought to the Esmeralda river zone with the other kidnapped individuals, except for RICARDO BAILARIN, canoe captain, and NARIÑO DOMICO, Rio Verde´s Nokó Mayor, who were liberated after 4 p.m. The location and state of the kidnapped persons is unknown.

Also in the municipal seat of Tierralta MIGUEL BAILARIN, Jenené Mayor of Rio Esmeralda was imprisoned. The facts occured at 6 p.m. when the indian bathed in the river with his wife and was kidnapped by four heavily armed men who later beat him and put him in a taxi. His location is still unknown.

These events join those which happend on Friday, when a group of armed men put up an illegal roadblock in the El Gallo section of Urrál, a roadblock that was also but higher on the road in Bocas de Río Verde. The community reports that surveillance flights have been overhead since Friday. The indigenous communities are isolated right now and the ingress and egress of canoes is banned.

We must protect the security of the Ebera Katío people because the presence of armed groups has intensified in our territory bringing a large military force in violation of the declaration of Sambudo.

We demand that the armed groups abandon our territory, that they don't turn it into a battlefield. We demand that the captors respect the lives and physical safety of the kidnapped. We solicit the state entities to investigate these facts and the Human Rights organizations to demand the liberty of our indigenous brothers and respect for our territory and our culture.

from the daily El Tiempo
Wednesday, September 20, 2000:


More than 200 Indigenous Refugees in Quibdó

Yesterday the regional indigenous organization Embera Wounaan, Orewa, denounced the forced displacement of more than 200 of their brothers who escaped from the paramilitaries and the guerrilla in Chocó.

More than 200 Embera Indians remained yesterday in the Central Park of Quibdó after escaping from their lands. They sought the protection of the government and the end of bombings on their land and want the paramilitaries and the insurgents to abandon their territory.

"On August 20th in Tutunendo, Quibdó, civilians who identified themselves as police detained the Indians Obdulio and Alberto Carupia and threatened to kill them for being guerrillas," the Orewa denounced.

They also accused that on August 22nd, the paramilitaries assassinated the municipal governor of Abejero, José Belarmino Carupia Domicó, a 60-year-old Embera indian, who "was amputated of all his limbs including his genital organs."

After the assassination, the community of Abejero said that the paramilitaries threatened to kill them all if they collaborate with the guerrilla.

The Orewa also denounced the constant recruitment of indigenous by the guerrilla. They demanded that the FARC stop obligating them to carry merchandise and that they not be included in the conflict.

"We believe that the guerrilla is using the indigenous communities as a shield with these actions and putting the life of our people in danger and violating our right to territorial and cultural autonomy."

The FARC Speaks

Narco News Translates the Latest Communiqué from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - Popular Army (FARC-EP)

"The Command of the Southern Bloc of the FARC-EP reports to public opinion:

1. That the citizen who hijacked the passenger plane to San Vicente del Caguán is a soldier of the Teófilo Forero column of the Southern Bloc.

2. That the FARC are not responsible for the action, it was an individual act.

3. That the facts obtained in the investigation reveal that the hijacking was prepared with the complicity of high officials of the INPEC agency, as an act of provocation to the peace process which is underway with the government of Mr. Pastrana with the FARC-EP.

4. We reject the demands made by the Attorney General and some politicians, among them some substitute officials, to deliver the responsible person, because the FARC has made no previous agreements with the government to deliver escaped prisoners of the regime, the majority of which are unjustly condemned.

5. The Minister of Justice and the Director of INPEC owe the country and the FARC a public explanation about this provocation.

6. Peace is not obtained with impositions nor ultimatums to the other side. If Mr. President wants to make this isolated incident an excuse to rupture this process and evade his responsibility to solve the most urgent problems of the Colombian people, it will be he that will have to answer to the nation. In this manner he will place a simple and circumstantial act over the problems of unemployment, health, education, agrarian reform, paramilitarism, privatizations, displaced peoples (on the rise with Plan Colombia), the foreign debt and other problems.

The Command of the Southern Bloc, FARC-EP

September 17, 2000".

Statement by Carlos Antonio Lozada, FARC Spokesman in Los Pozos, Caquetá:

"Our position is catagorical: we will not return the comrade because it is a right and a duty of all revolutionary prisoners to seek escape from the prisons."

Plan Colombia Briefs

From the daily El Tiempo

Civil Society

The NGO members of Paz Colombia continue preparing the Costa Rica conference for October 16, 17 and 18. There, they will discuss social projects regarding Plan Colombia... In Putumayo, was presented a proposal for manual erradication of coca crops, a cease fire and humanitarian agreements.


The five friendly countries to the peace process with the ELN (France, Cuba, Spain, Norway and Germany) who belong to the Facilitating Commission of Civil Society, visted the south of Bolívar State last weekend to evaluate with the local people the possibility of a dialogue zone. The results of the mission are secret and will be delivered to the parties in less than a month.


Before the end of the year, the Armed Forces will have 172 helicopters, double the number that they have now, and will have 42,000 professional soldiers compared to 10,000 today.

Chronology of Nonviolent Resistance by Bolivian Coca Farmers

from La Razón, La Paz, Bolivia
September 19, 2000

The Coca Growers Block the Military Bases with Stones

COCHABAMBA (LA RAZÓN).- Trunks and stones served the cocaleros (coca growers) of Chapare today to block at least 20 points along the new highway to Santa Cruz.

The interruption of traffic begins in Cristal Mayo and extends to Bulo Bulo. The cocaleros reject the construction of military bases in the region and demand the commercialization of their products.

The peasants placed stones and trees across the asphalt. Journalists present in the region said that men, women and children participated in the action.

from the daily Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Tuesday September 19, 2000

Blockades: Government Announces "Cleansing"

Cochabamba and La Paz.- The climate of social protests in the country intensified yesterday in various regions of the nation. As the peasant farmers and coca producers maintained their blockade of highways and roads in Chapare and the highlands, the striking teachers opted for protest marches in La Paz and Santa Cruz and a hunger strike in Potosí.

The situation has made the government furious. The interior minister Guillermo Fortún announced today the "cleansing of all roads and highways of the country by uniformed troops."

There was no vehicular traffic in any of the towns of the Cochabambino Tropics.

from Los Tiempos, Cohabamba, Bolivia
Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Troops Sent to the Highways

The Armed Forces Deployed its Agents

Meanwhile, mobilizations occured in seven states of the country yesterday

Today, the problems could become more acute

La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz | Los Tiempos.- Surrounded by problems and with the impossibility of tending to so many fronts of conflict that have seven states of the country in suspense, the government decided to deploy various groups of operatives from the Mobile Rural Patrol Unit (UMOPAR) and the National Police to the places that now have a total blockade.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces are ready to intervene in the blockades and cut the chain of conflicts that have brought the government to one of its worse crises.

The official argument is that negociation and dialogue did not work and to defend the policies of the State no option is left but to make those who promote protest acts "feel the hand." According to the constitution, the Executive Branch cannot declare a state of siege twice in the same year, thus it will have to use other methods to decapitate the mobilizations.

The secretary general of the coca growers federations asked the President of the Republic to resign and call new elections.

The peasant farmers demand land reform, support for agricultural development, creation of a specialized university and support for the cocaleros of Yungas and Chapare states.

In the Cochabambino Tropics the tension is caused by the rejection of the construction of military bases, the forced erradication of recent coca crops and opposition to the current agricultural reform law. The teachers seek a 50 percent pay raise.

Tension and the Dry Law

Cristal Mayu | Los Tiempos.- "Here come the soldiers," shouted a ten year old boy, provoking an immediate state of alert among the cocaleros.. standing guard all night at the bridge of Cristal Mayu...

The trunks laying in the middle of the highway, each of them 40 feet long, prevented the circulation of any type of vehicle...

The strategy has changed. If last April the cocaleros made lightning-strike blockades (returning to blockade as soon as the uniformed troops left), now they have decided on a new tactic. That is, although the troops arrive, it will take them at least a day to clean away the trunks.

... the troops didn't come. It was a false alarm.

But the cocaleros don't think it a reason to lower their guard. To the contrary, local authorities declared a dry law in their regions, the cocalero leaders have given the orders to cut off potable water to urban populations....


The Observer, London, England
Sunday September 17, 2000

UK in secret biological war on drugs

Plan to spray lethal fungi in Colombia

By Antony Barnett, public affairs editor

Britain is playing a key role in developing lethal fungi that could be
sprayed over countries illicitly growing cannabis, opium and coca
plants, destroying their drug crops, secret US government
documents have revealed.

Critics have described the programme as 'biological warfare' and
likened it to the disastrous use of Agent Orange by the US in
Vietnam. They warn the fungi will kill food crops, destroy the
environment and endanger human life while having little impact on
the world drug trade, which will simply move production

US State Department documents obtained by The Observer name
British scientist Michael Greaves as a key player in its programme
to spray a fungus known as Fusarium oxysporum over Columbia's
rainforests in the hope of destroying it coca crops - the source of
80 per cent of the world's cocaine. Until recently Greaves worked
for the government-funded Institute of Arable Crop Research in
Bristol. He is also the co-ordinator of a
secretive UK-funded
research project
located in the former Soviet republic of
Uzbekistan. This is developing another type of fungus aimed at
wiping out opium poppies in places such as Afghanistan, where
half the world's heroin comes from.

The programme is based at the Institute of Genetics in Uzbekistan
run by many scientists who used to work on the Soviet germ
warfare programme during the Cold War.
The Foreign Office has
provided pounds 100,000 of funding for the project, set up in 1998
under the United Nations Drug Control Programme.

In 1999 three scientists from the Uzbekistan Institute came to the
Long Ashton research centre in Bristol where Greaves was
based. UN documents confirm that since
the project began it has
been extended to look at fungi to kill cannabis plants.
documents also reveal that, despite widespread concerns from
environmentalists and scientists, this fungus has already been
field-tested in three Central Asian states: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and
Kyrgyzstan. Two other states, Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, have
so far refused.

Disclosure of the extent of British involvement in what some see
as 'biological warfare'
in breach of the global Biological Weapons
will be highly embarrassing for the government. Only
last week Cabinet Minister Mo Mowlam was in Colombia voicing
opposition to the use of biological agents there. International
criticism of the US plan to use the fungus, dubbed Agent Green,
has forced President Bill Clinton to backtrack from tying aid to
Colombia with spraying of the fungus.
The US government has not
wanted to be seen as the initiator of this programme and
persuaded the UN Drug Control Programme to take responsibility.

But the US and UK are the main sources of finance for the multi-
million-pound programme.

US State Department documents, signed by Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, urge the UNDCP to set up testing for 'large-
scale implementation' of fusarium on coca in Colombia and to get
other countries involved
'in order to avoid a perception that this is
solely a US government initiative'.

The documents say: 'We would urge the formulation of the UN
project to take advantage of the extensive US research using
fusarium to target illicit coca Dr Mike Greaves of the UK has
already evaluated the host range and exploration data the US has

The fungi work by secreting toxins into a plant's roots, forcing the
coca plant or opium poppy to wilt and eventually die. But these
fungi can survive in the soil for years and some scientists believe
they could be toxic to humans and animals. There is also concern
that they spread rapidly, mutate and kill other crops.

In Peru in the late Eighties, after an epidemic of fusarium wilt in a
coca-growing area caused by this fungus, thousands of peasant
families could not grow food.
Indeed, a proposal to use the fungus
against cannabis crops in Florida was postponed after t
he state's
department of environmental protection warned 'it is difficult, if not
impossible, to control the spread of fusarium species. The mutated
fungi can cause disease in a large number of crops, including
tomatoes, peppers, corn and vines.'

Jenny Tonge, the Liberal Democrats' international development
spokesman, said: 'Under no circumstances should the UK support
these initiatives. They will damage people, rainforests, and pollute
the land. Past experience shows that drug production will just
move elsewhere. It is time the West looked at how they can curb
the demand for drugs from their citizens.'

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: 'There is nothing secret
about the project. The UNDCP is seeking safe crop-eradication
techniques. This project could lead to a major breakthrough in this
field. But these are early days of the project, and much careful,
lengthy research is still required.' The Observer was unable to
contact Greaves who, according to his wife, is in Uzbekistan.

September 19, 2000

Swiss Invent Antidote for Anti-Coca Herbicide

US "Plan Colombia" Biological WarfareR Strategy vs. Amazon Faces Neutralization from New Technologies

¡Hasta La Vista, Fusarium Oxysporum, Baby!

from the daily Folha de São Paulo, Brazil
Sunday, September 17, 2000

Translated from the original Portugues by Al Giordano


Gene Patented that Kills Anti-Coca Fungus

Swiss Novartis Company Invents Fungicide that Will be Able to Eliminate the Micro-organism Created to Destroy Colombian Plantations


The Folha News Agency

Colombian narco-traffickers can hope now for a future with an antidote against a species of fungus named Fusarium, the fungus that the government of the United States has impulsed to destroy coca plantations in that Latin American country.

The antidote will be able to destroy a protein produced by fungus with a gene patented by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

"Plan Colombia" had planned for the biologicial control of coca, although the government of Andrés Pastrana has so far refrained from using the fungus.

"The advance of biotechnology research will be able to guarantee the narco-traffickers that within two or three years there will be access to an antidote capable of paralyzing the noxious effects of the Fusarium Oxysporum fungus on their plantations," said professor of the Federal University of Uberlandia, Frenando Cezar Juliatti.

The spokesman for new technologies and public relations of the Brazilian division of Novartis, agronomist Wilhelmus Uitdewilligen, said that the anti-fungal protein is being tested among wheat and corn crops of the USA. "The first results indicate that it is effective," said Uitdewilligen. "The products continue in the experimental phace and are not commercially availalbe at this moment."

Novartis declined comment on the possibility that traffickers will use it to invent new products. Uitdewilligen disregarded the idea that the product of his company will be used to protect coca leaves -- from which the base paste of cocaine is made.

According to him, the protein produced by the patented gene controls only a few types of Fusarium that produce toxins classified as tricoteneces.

"One of the most important species of Fusarium that produces tricotecenes is called Fusarium Graminearium, a species that attacks wheat, barley and corn.

According to professor Juiliatti, nothing prevents that in short time and with the resources of trained professionals, this product can be used to neutralize the effects of Fusarium Oxysporum on coca.

The gene patented on December 23, 1997 by Novartis, is not registered among brands and patents of the United States, but will be available for commercial use for third parties if the company buys or sells the product internationally....

Archive of Press Briefings September 8-18

Archive of Press Briefings September 1-7

Archive of Press Briefings from August 24-30

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From Dr. Albert Hoffman's Bicycle Ride to Novartis Today, Swiss Technology Changes the World