Narco News publishes the full text of the February 27, 2002 depostion by Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs Rand Beers in the federal lawsuit by Ecuador's Farmers vs. DynCorp

For background info see:

DynCorp Charged with Terrorism, by Al Giordano

Beers Fumigated in Deposition, by Al Giordano and S. González

Full Text of the Lawsuit, published by

PDF document of this deposition transcript on

Beers' Affidavit that got him subpoenaed on

(Due to the length of this document it is broken into three parts: Pages 1-29, pages 30-59, pages 60-88)

Part II


1 we're objecting on the basis of classified State

2 security, national security privilege.

3 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: The same objection on

4 behalf of DynCorp. The basis for that is national

5 security, foreign policy and the contract itself.


7 Q. Were the discussions concluded?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Is there a buffer zone?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. The part you're objecting to is

12 telling me how wide it is?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Because that's a national security

15 secret?

16 A. Because we don't wish to preview

17 where people would have sanctuary. We don't wish

18 to preview where we might fly.

19 Q. Do you have any knowledge at all of

20 similar discussions involving the government of

21 Ecuador?

22 A. As I earlier said, no.


1 Q. What is the reason that there is a

2 buffer zone, however wide it is?

3 MR. RIVERA: Let me again just object on

4 the grounds to the extent that the witness would

5 have to reveal in his answer any information that

6 would be protected by State secrets or national

7 security or other privilege.

8 With that objection, you may answer to

9 the extent that you don't reveal such information.

10 THE WITNESS: As a concept, it is to try

11 to ensure that the areas to which a spray is

12 delivered are, in fact, most likely to hit targets

13 and most likely not to hit places that are not

14 targets.


16 Q. Would it be fair to say, then, that

17 one purpose of the buffer zone is to insure that

18 the spraying does not enter into Ecuador?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Because Ecuador is not a target

21 of --

22 A. That is correct?


1 Q. -- the spraying?

2 MR. RIVERA: Make sure he finishes his

3 question before you answer.

4 THE WITNESS: The answer to the question

5 as completed is yes.


7 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Counsel.


9 Q. Are you aware of any reports that

10 spraying has occurred in Ecuador?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Describe for me your knowledge along

13 those lines.

14 MR. RIVERA: I'm going to raise the same

15 objection with respect to the witness may answer

16 subject to preservation of any national security or

17 classified information.

18 THE WITNESS: I have heard press reports.


20 Q. Press reports of spraying in

21 Ecuador?

22 A. Or drift of spray into Ecuador.


1 Q. Have you ordered any kind of

2 investigation of that?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Who is conducting that

5 investigation?

6 A. The embassy.

7 Q. The embassy in?

8 A. Bogota.

9 Q. The U.S. Embassy in Bogota?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. Is there any conclusion to those

12 investigations?

13 MR. RIVERA: I'm going to raise the same

14 objection I did previously.

15 THE WITNESS: The conclusions that I

16 understand are that the information does not stand

17 up to the allegations. The press reports do not

18 stand up discretely.


20 Q. Is there a written report to that

21 effect?

22 A. No, not to my knowledge.



1 Q. How did you come to learn that

2 information?

3 A. It would have been communicated to

4 me by staff, from telephone conversations with

5 people in the embassy.

6 Q. Do you know who communicated that to

7 you?

8 A. I would have to ask Mr. Etheridge.

9 Q. I would like to direct your

10 attention to paragraph 9 of your Declaration.

11 A. (Witness complies.)

12 Q. The relevant portion is in the

13 second line of paragraph 9. "It should be noted

14 that the punitive class is drawn from a region

15 adjacent to one largely controlled by drug

16 traffickers and international terrorists."

17 What is the region that you are

18 referring to there?

19 A. The region within Ecuador or the

20 region within Columbia?

21 Q. The region within Ecuador.

22 A. To the best of my knowledge, it


1 would have involved Sucumbios and Carchi

2 departments, or provinces if that's what they're

3 called, in Columbia.

4 Q. What are you referring to in

5 Columbia?

6 A. I'm referring to the cultivation and

7 the trafficking and insurgent organizations which

8 are no different from trafficking organizations

9 that exist in the Putumayo region department and

10 the overlap of that department into Narino in

11 Southern Columbia.

12 Q. Are there any specific terrorist

13 targets in Sucumbios, Ecuador?

14 MR. RIVERA: I object to the question

15 again to the extent that it would call for

16 revealing information protected by State secrets,

17 privileged or other national security privileges.

18 THE WITNESS: I don't know what a target

19 is.


21 Q. Are there any terrorist groups that

22 are on the U.S. government's list that are known to


1 be hiding or based in Sucumbios, Ecuador?

2 MR. RIVERA: Same objection.

3 THE WITNESS: There is general

4 information that the BART from time to time has

5 some of its elements within Ecuador.


7 Q. Within Sucumbios, Ecuador?

8 A. Within Sucumbios.

9 Q. I don't speak Spanish. I'll do my

10 best.

11 A. Nor do I.

12 Q. I would like to direct your

13 attention to paragraph 25 of your Declaration.

14 It begins, "As directed by the

15 bureau, DynCorp International works directly with

16 the United States military," et cetera, et cetera.

17 Who within the Bureau would be the

18 person you're referring to, or persons, who are

19 directing DynCorp?

20 A. It would be me and through me the

21 office director of the State Department Air Wing,

22 Mr. John McLaughlin, and through him his


1 representatives in Columbia, and in a second chain

2 of command from the embassador through the

3 Narcotics Affairs Section within Columbia.

4 Q. Mr. Baca, does he work in

5 Narcotics --

6 A. He is the director.

7 Q. Thank you.

8 MR. RIVERA: Make sure that counsel

9 finishes his question before you answer.

10 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry.


12 Q. How frequent are the interactions in

13 that chain you have just described between DynCorp

14 and the bureau? Is it a daily thing or a weekly

15 thing?

16 A. It is a constant relationship. It

17 is daily and hour to hour. They live and work

18 together.

19 Q. I understand the limitations on what

20 you can say here, but what are the general issues

21 that are being worked out on a day-to-day basis in

22 this relationship? Is it where to spray? Is it


1 what to spray? What are the general issues?

2 A. Logistics.

3 Q. What do you mean by that?

4 A. I mean the support for the aircraft

5 and associated material, gasoline, spray material

6 that are necessary for DynCorp to carry out its

7 function.

8 Q. In the next paragraph, paragraph 26

9 of your Declaration, you describe a process to

10 develop detailed flight plans.

11 Can you tell me how that works?

12 A. The government of Columbia with the

13 support of the United States determines where coca

14 cultivation exists with a degree of geographic

15 precision that allows a specific field to be

16 designated as a field to be sprayed.

17 The general geographic area and then

18 the fields themselves are determined with the final

19 responsibility for saying that those areas may be

20 sprayed residing with the government of Columbia.

21 The flight plans are then laid out

22 for a particular day to cover the fields from among



1 the list of fields which will be sprayed on that

2 day and by that flight. Prior to the take off of

3 the aircraft, the government of Columbia determines

4 whether or not the weather or wind conditions are

5 appropriate to being able to deliver the spray

6 effectively to the target selected and only if the

7 weather and wind are appropriate, it's not raining,

8 the wind is not above a certain velocity. The

9 aircraft are authorized to take off. They then

10 take off and return to base.

11 If an unusual condition results

12 during the course of the flight, then the pilot has

13 the authority to return to base on his own

14 recognizance. The planes that fly are a

15 combination of planes that are flown by DynCorp and

16 flown by the Columbian National Police.

17 Q. When you were speaking earlier about

18 the logistics and the interaction between the

19 bureau and DynCorp, is the government of Columbia

20 involved in those logistical coordination

21 activities as well?

22 A. Only insofar as it may involve a


1 flight clearance to move something from point A to

2 point B. We are responsible for supplying our own

3 DynCorp logistical back up.

4 Q. Is a computer program prepared based

5 on the aerial intelligence that is guiding the

6 spray pattern of the airplane?

7 A. There is a program set which is used

8 to guide it, yes, that's correct.

9 Q. How is that created?

10 A. It's created in the -- as a result

11 of some multispectral imagery, which is taken from

12 an aircraft which is flown by us. Not every field

13 which is sprayed is necessarily registered on that,

14 but most of the fields which are sprayed are

15 registered on that.

16 Q. Who creates the computer program in

17 cases where there is one?

18 A. It would be a, I believe,

19 subcontractor of DynCorp.

20 Q. A subcontractor of DynCorp.

21 Do you know the name of the

22 subcontractor?


1 A. I don't recall off the top of my

2 head.

3 Q. Do you know where that computer

4 program is created physically? Is it created in

5 Columbia, or is it created somewhere in the United

6 States?

7 A. I believe it's in Columbia.

8 Q. Do you know the lag time between

9 gathering the information and actually having the

10 computer program ready to be operational?

11 A. No.

12 Q. Do your flight plans take account of

13 the issue of drift?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. How do they do that?

16 A. As I said earlier, they are not

17 allowed to fly if the wind is too great.

18 Q. Is that the only precaution taken?

19 A. Pilots can make a decision in

20 flight.

21 Q. Are you aware of any studies

22 conducted regarding the issue of drift with respect


1 to Roundup, the fumigant base that is being used in

2 Plan Columbia?

3 A. No.

4 Q. Are you aware that there are any

5 studies?

6 A. No.

7 Q. Do you know what kind of spray was

8 initially being used when Plan Columbia first

9 began?

10 A. No.

11 Q. Do you know what kind of spray is

12 being used now?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Is it a derivative of Roundup?

15 A. I am not at liberty to say.

16 Q. I'm sorry?

17 A. I am not at liberty to say.

18 Q. Is that a national security secret

19 what the actual spray is?

20 MR. RIVERA: I'm going to object to the

21 question on the grounds that the identity of the

22 particular spray would be protected by a privilege


1 concerning another national security law

2 enforcement privilege or the privilege for

3 information submitted upon a pledge of

4 confidentiality with the government.

5 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Same objection, also

6 based on the contract.

7 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: We're going to mark

8 that one because I don't believe that you will be

9 able to keep us from knowing what is the name of

10 the spray being used.


12 Q. Is it a derivative of Roundup?

13 MR. RIVERA: Same objection.

14 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Same objection.


16 Q. What company makes it?

17 MR. RIVERA: Same objection.

18 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Same objection.


20 Q. Has the spray changed?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. When did it change?


1 A. I don't know.

2 Q. Why was it changed?

3 A. I'm not sure.

4 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Let's mark this as

5 Plaintiffs' Number 5.

6 (Beers Deposition Exhibit No. 5

7 was marked for identification.)


9 Q. I've handed you Exhibit 5, which is

10 a transcript of your famous appearance on

11 60 Minutes. I'm wondering if you could take a

12 moment to review that and tell me if it accurately

13 reflects what you said.

14 MR. RIVERA: Do you want the witness to

15 read the entirety of the transcript, or are there

16 particular portions that you would like him to look

17 at?

18 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: It's not that long.

19 He can read the portions that he did actually say.

20 MR. RIVERA: Read through it and make

21 sure you're comfortable with what you have read.

22 THE WITNESS: (Witness complies.)



1 Those are all my words to the best of my

2 recollection.


4 Q. Mr. Beers, on page 3 of this

5 document near the top, it's your first appearance,

6 I think, Mr. Rand Beers: "That's correct. By

7 comparison, table salt and baby shampoo are more

8 toxic or as toxic as glyphosate."

9 MR. RIVERA: I'm sorry, what page are you

10 on?

11 THE WITNESS: We haven't found the point

12 you're making.

13 It's on page 2 of mine.

14 MR. RIVERA: Let's make sure we're on the

15 same page, literally.

16 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Yes, my pages somehow

17 are different. Sorry.


19 Q. On page 2 at the top, you are quoted

20 as saying, "That's correct. By comparison, table

21 salt and baby shampoo are more toxic or as toxic as

22 glyphosate."




1 A. Glyphosate.

2 Q. Is glyphosate one of the chemicals

3 being sprayed in Columbia?

4 A. Glyphosate is the generic name of

5 the chemicals that are being sprayed in Columbia.

6 Q. In the next set of questions,

7 Mr. Croft asks you about Roundup. There, you don't

8 claim any kind of national security privilege, and

9 instead you answer the questions about the

10 commercial applicability of Roundup. That's what

11 it appears to be saying.

12 Am I incorrect there?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. What are you intending to answer

15 there?

16 A. I'm doing two things at the same

17 time. I am talking about glyphosate, the generic,

18 and I am responding to his question about how a

19 specific commercial vendor might set up their own

20 guidelines.

21 Q. But you don't --

22 A. But I am not confirming that Roundup



1 is what is being used in Columbia.

2 Q. For purposes of our going to the

3 court and trying to get a court order, the issue

4 you are claiming national security on here is

5 whether or not this glyphosate that you are

6 spraying --

7 MR. GALLAGHER: Glyphosate.

8 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: We all know what we

9 mean.


11 Q. -- is in fact Roundup?

12 A. We are not acknowledging the name of

13 the supplier.

14 Q. That is a national security secret?

15 A. Counsel made the objections.

16 MR. RIVERA: Again, it's information

17 protected by one of the governmental privileges

18 including information submitted to the government

19 on a pledge of confidentiality, as well as the law

20 enforcement privilege and possibility the national

21 security privilege.




1 Q. But we can say that glyphosate is

2 one of the chemicals?

3 A. We can certainly talk about

4 glyphosate.

5 Q. Are there any other chemicals that

6 are added to the mixture that is being used in Plan

7 Columbia besides glyphosate?

8 A. When one speaks of glyphosate as the

9 generic active agent that is used to actually

10 affect the plan, there are another set of chemicals

11 which are included, and they are called

12 surfactants. Their purpose is to allow the

13 glyphosate to remain on the leave long enough to

14 have its active effect on the plant. It is like

15 baby shampoo.

16 Q. Is one of the ingredients that

17 you're describing called Cosmo-Flux?

18 A. That is correct.

19 Q. Is Cosmo-Flux part of the mixture

20 that is being used in Plan Columbia?

21 A. That is correct.

22 Q. Is another one something called



1 Poea, P-o-e-a?

2 A. I believe that is the correct name.

3 Q. What is the difference, as you sit

4 here, between Cosmo-Flux and Poea?

5 A. They're produced by different

6 manufacturers.

7 Q. But they do the same thing?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Which of them is being used in Plan

10 Columbia?

11 A. Both.

12 Q. Together?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Why would you need two of them?

15 A. Because in the commercially

16 available mixture which we purchase, the second of

17 the two surfactants is already an ingredient of the

18 mixture which we purchase. We add the Cosmo-Flux

19 in addition to that to have an additional

20 surfactant effect.

21 Q. Where is the Cosmo-Flux that you are

22 adding manufactured?



1 A. I don't know.

2 Q. Do you know the name of the company

3 that manufacturers it?

4 A. No.

5 Q. Has the company that is supplying

6 it, the Cosmo-Flux that is being used in Plan

7 Columbia, has the company changed from the

8 beginning of the program until now?

9 A. That supplies the Cosmo-Flux?

10 Q. Yes.

11 A. I don't know.

12 Q. Let me direct your attention to

13 page 3. About halfway down the page it says,

14 Mr. Beers: "There is no question that at certain

15 dosage levels, glyphosate or the commercial mixture

16 can injure people or kill them. What I'm trying to

17 say is that the levels that we apply are well below

18 any of those levels."

19 Did you, in fact, say that?

20 A. I did.

21 Q. What are the dimensions or factors

22 in your mind that would determine whether a certain



1 dosage level would kill someone?

2 A. The science, as I understand it, is

3 that the dosage level would have to be a

4 considerable degree greater than the very small

5 amount of dosage that a single flight would allow

6 to land on an individual.

7 The actual mixture of either

8 glyphosate or surfactant which would fall on an

9 individual, a naked person of approximately

10 150 pounds standing in a field, which would never

11 happen, would have approximately 12 milligrams of

12 the total amount of substance. Nine plus

13 milligrams would be glyphosate, the remaining 2

14 plus milligrams would be surfactant.

15 That's hardly anything,

16 approximating what the standard tests have

17 suggested would be the dosage level for glyphosate

18 and its surfactant as manufactured in the United

19 States and testing would be.

20 Q. Is there any process under which

21 someone is testing what is actually being sprayed,

22 the content of it?



1 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I object to the form

2 of that. It's unclear to me.

3 THE WITNESS: Nor me.

4 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: I'm sorry, I'll try

5 again.


7 Q. You're getting this fumigant and

8 spraying it. Is anyone testing the actual chemical

9 compound that is being sprayed on some sort of

10 random basis to make sure that we're clear on what

11 it is made of?

12 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Same objection.

13 THE WITNESS: I have indicated that

14 products which are manufactured and sold in the

15 United States are tested regularly. That's the

16 test data we have.


18 Q. Is anyone using commercially in the

19 United States the exact same chemical formulation

20 with the addition of these two surfactants that

21 you've described in testing it?

22 A. Cosmo-Flux is not sold within the



1 United States.

2 Q. When you say that the people who are

3 testing it in the United States, that would be

4 irrelevant to whether the chemical as used is the

5 same, right?

6 MR. RIVERA: Object to the form of the

7 question.



10 Q. Everyone objected to the form of the

11 question, but the issue is whether you understood

12 the question.

13 MR. RIVERA: If you understand the

14 question, you may answer subject to the objection.

15 THE WITNESS: As to the matter of the

16 irrelevance of the test that has been done in the

17 United States, I believe it is relevant to the

18 matter at hand.


20 Q. Why is that?

21 MR. RIVERA: I'm sorry, Counsel. I'm

22 going back and flipping through Mr. Beers'



1 Declaration, and it seems that we're going a bit

2 far afield from what he was supposed to be

3 testifying to today. Obviously, we've been giving

4 some latitude to talk somewhat about the herbicide.

5 But my understanding of his authorization and the

6 request for his testimony today really concerns the

7 policy position of the State Department and various

8 aspects of the impact of this litigation on

9 national security and other concerns that are

10 described in the Declaration rather than the

11 science or the health effects, for the most part,

12 of the herbicide.

13 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: I'm going to direct

14 you to paragraphs 22 and 23 of Mr. Beers'

15 Declaration, both of which involve his assertions

16 that there are no grounds to suggest concern for

17 human health. I believe that my questions are

18 extremely relevant there, and I have just a few

19 more which I would like to complete.


21 Q. You were beginning to explain to me

22 the relevance of the testing that is done on one



1 compound to the actual health effects of the

2 compound being used in Columbia which is different.

3 Why did you say that it was

4 relevant?

5 A. When you get to the actual mixture

6 that is being sprayed in Columbia, that is when it

7 is mixed with the water, which is the largest

8 single content of the mixture, the glyphosate and

9 the surfactant that comes with the glyphosate

10 represent a certain proportion which is the bulk of

11 the combination, and 1 percent of the actual out

12 the nozzle of the spray is Cosmo-Flux.

13 We have, because it is not sold in

14 the United States, asked EPA to look at the

15 ingredients as provided on a proprietary basis by

16 the manufacturer. And EPA has, after looking at

17 the contents, judged the contents of Cosmo-Flux as

18 safe to be sprayed on food crops in the United

19 States.

20 That, in combination with the

21 testing against the commercially available products

22 which are comparable to what we use, gives us the




1 view that is contained in the statement.

2 Q. Is it true that no one has actually

3 tested on humans the specific compounds together

4 that are being used in Plan Columbia?

5 A. To the best of my knowledge, no one

6 tests on humans or any of the herbicides or

7 pesticides. They are all done on animals.

8 Q. Are you aware of any scientific

9 tests done on animals to test the effects of the

10 specific combination of compounds being sprayed in

11 Plan Columbia?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Are there any plans to do such a

14 test?

15 A. We are considering the possibility.

16 Q. Who would conduct the test that you

17 are considering?

18 A. I don't know.

19 Q. Are you working with the EPA on

20 that?

21 A. The EPA would certainly be involved.

22 Q. Are you familiar with any legal



1 requirement under the Executive Order 12114 to test

2 these materials prior to using them in a context

3 that might harm humans?

4 A. I'm not familiar with that executive

5 order and would need to review it before I could

6 answer your question.

7 Q. Are you aware of any discussions

8 that have occurred in your bureau about the need to

9 conduct an environmental impact study?

10 MR. RIVERA: I'm going to object to the

11 question to the extent it requires the witness to

12 reveal any information that would be protected by

13 the deliberative process or any other applicable

14 privilege.


16 Q. I believe you can answer the

17 question without giving up the details that counsel

18 has enumerated.

19 MR. RIVERA: If you understand the

20 question.

21 THE WITNESS: I guess you're going to

22 have to reformulate the question.




2 Q. Have there been any discussions

3 inside your bureau regarding the need to comply

4 with environmental regulations by testing the

5 impact of the compound that you are spraying in

6 Columbia?

7 MR. RIVERA: Just a question of

8 clarification. The impact on the environment?

9 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: No. Humans or the

10 environment.

11 MR. RIVERA: I thought I heard

12 environment somewhere in your qualifications.

13 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Humans are existing

14 in the environment.

15 MR. RIVERA: That's helpful to be clear

16 on the question.

17 THE WITNESS: At this particular point in

18 time, I am not aware of any specific plans to do

19 any environmental impact study of this particular

20 spray compound.


22 Q. You're not familiar with Executive



1 Order 12114?

2 A. No.

3 Q. Are you aware of whether there are

4 any laws in Columbia that would require an

5 environmental impact study to be done before you

6 could spray something like the fumigant you are

7 using?

8 A. I'm not specifically aware of any,

9 no.

10 Q. Are you aware of any discussions

11 about whether the program is in compliance with the

12 law in Columbia on that dimension?

13 A. Yes. It is my understanding that it

14 is in compliance with the law in Columbia.

15 Q. Does the fumigant that you are using

16 in Columbia kill food crops like corn, yucca, et

17 cetera?

18 A. It kills plants.

19 Q. So if a farmer's plants were sprayed

20 by this fumigant, it would kill them, just as it is

21 killing the cocaine?

22 A. It could.

Due to the length of this document it is broken into three parts:

Pages 1-29, pages 30-59, pages 60-88

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