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 III



1 Q. There is no way that this fumigant

2 distinguishes between cocaine and corn. It kills

3 plants; is that correct?

4 A. That is correct.

5 Q. You had earlier said that the dosage

6 is low enough that it cannot hurt humans in terms

7 of the spray that you are using in Columbia,

8 correct?

9 A. I said that it is not significant

10 enough to kill humans.

11 Q. Could it injure humans?

12 A. The studies that have been done on

13 glyphosate have suggested that there is a mild eye

14 irritation that results.

15 Q. Are you aware of any other health

16 effects just from the glyphosate?

17 A. No.

18 Q. Again, that study did not introduce

19 the Cosmo-Flux; is that correct?

20 A. But it did have the surfactant that

21 is part of the glyphosate mixture.

22 Q. Which surfactant, what is the word?



1 A. The other one, the Bpoe.

2 Q. Would someone increase their chances

3 of suffering an injury if they are sprayed

4 frequently? Is frequency a factor in your

5 determination?

6 MR. RIVERA: I'm sorry, I object to the

7 form of the question.


9 Q. I will be happy to try again if you

10 don't understand it, Mr. Beers.

11 A. There is a second set of studies

12 that are done on most herbicides, and they are

13 exposure -- prolonged exposure to the substance.

14 It is my understanding that those studies are

15 conducted over a 90-day period, and they presume a

16 certain dosage level administered on a daily basis.

17 Those studies with respect to

18 glyphosate do not suggest a long-term effect.

19 However, and more importantly, it is unlikely that

20 an individual would be sprayed more than once. It

21 is highly unlikely that an individual would ever be

22 sprayed more than twice, period.



1 Q. But that would be a factor if in

2 fact they were? In increasing the risk to a

3 person, the dosage is one factor, but the frequency

4 is another factor?

5 A. That's what I said.

6 Q. Are you aware of any rules or

7 recommendations by the commercial manufacturers of

8 this kind of fumigant that you are using in

9 Columbia dealing with the altitude from which it

10 should be sprayed?

11 A. I believe there are some references

12 in the guidelines.

13 Q. Do you have any knowledge of what

14 those guidelines are? Should it be sprayed very

15 high up or close to the ground?

16 A. It should be sprayed close to the

17 ground.

18 Q. How close to the ground?

19 A. I don't remember precisely, but the

20 guidelines say.

21 Q. Do you believe, as you sit here,

22 that the DynCorp program in Columbia is in



1 compliance with those guidelines in terms of

2 altitude?

3 MR. RIVERA: Object to the question.

4 Could you clarify, whose guidelines?


6 Q. The guidelines that you referred to

7 that the commercial manufacturers recommend.

8 A. As I cannot remember what the

9 commercial guidelines are, I'm at odds to respond

10 to your question.

11 Q. Is it part of the direction that the

12 bureau is giving DynCorp to be in compliance with

13 the commercially-recommended applications of the

14 fumigant?

15 A. We have our own guidelines.

16 Q. Are they different in terms of the

17 altitude recommendation than the commercial

18 guidelines?

19 A. Our guidelines are 50 to 150 feet.

20 Q. What are the commercial --

21 A. I don't know.

22 Q. Do the commercial vendors put a



1 warning label on the fumigant if it has glyphosate

2 in it?

3 A. I believe so.

4 Q. Does the warning include telling

5 humans to be out of the area?

6 A. I'm not positive about that.

7 Q. Let's go back to your 60 Minutes

8 transcript, page 2. You are specifically asked the

9 question near the top of the page by Mr. Croft that

10 the commercial Roundup says that people should stay

11 out of area, as well as pets, if the area is being

12 sprayed, and you respond to the question.

13 Do you have any knowledge at all of

14 the commercial regulations?

15 A. I'm sorry, I still don't see it on

16 the page.

17 Q. Page 2, the second question

18 Mr. Croft asks you, it begins, "If you looked at

19 the --

20 A. Okay, got it.

21 Q. Could you review both the question

22 and your response.



1 A. (Examining.)

2 Q. Do you have any knowledge of the

3 commercial warning that Roundup is using?

4 A. Mr. Croft, I believe, is correct in

5 quoting the Roundup web site.

6 I have never said we're using

7 Roundup, sir.

8 Q. Is it your position that it is okay,

9 that you would not warn people to be out of the

10 area when you're about to spray the actual fumigant

11 that you're using in Columbia?

12 A. We do not warn people to be out of

13 the area when we are spraying.

14 Q. Because it's perfectly safe to be

15 sprayed?

16 A. It is also a risk.

17 Q. Could you acknowledge the first part

18 of the question, though.

19 Is it your position that it is

20 perfectly safe to be sprayed by the actual fumigant

21 that you are using in Columbia?

22 A. As I have said earlier, there are



1 testing indications that it could be mildly

2 irritating to the eye. If you judge that to be

3 unsafe, then I'm not in a position to say it's

4 safe. We do not judge it to be harmful to the

5 health of individuals.

6 Q. You also say on that same page that

7 you compare it to table salt, is that correct, on

8 the level of toxicity?

9 A. That's correct.

10 Q. Are you aware that the New York

11 Attorney General in 1996 got an injunction against

12 Monsanto for saying that glyphosate is as safe as

13 table salt because it was proved to be untrue?

14 A. No, I'm unaware of that.

15 Q. What do you base your statement on

16 that it is as safe as table salt?

17 A. Information that has been provided

18 to us in comparing the toxicity levels, which are

19 done by independent testers to determine what the

20 toxicity of table salt or baby shampoo is. So I'm

21 looking at test results. We are looking at test

22 results.




1 Q. But you said the specific compound

2 that you are using has not been tested on humans;

3 is that correct?

4 A. That's correct. Nor are any of the

5 tests, to the best of my knowledge, on humans.

6 Q. What date are you referring to?

7 A. I'm referring to the standard tests

8 that EPA sets up to look at toxicity levels of

9 substances.

10 Q. As part of the bureau's oversight in

11 coordination with DynCorp, is there any attempt to

12 try to spray areas when populations are not likely

13 to be there?

14 A. Sure.

15 Q. What kinds of guidelines are you

16 providing?

17 A. The general guideline, which is to

18 not spray people if it is at all avoidable, to not

19 spray houses, to not spray fields that are clearly

20 food crop fields. But if food crop is intercropped

21 with coca, then it is coca.

22 Q. Are these guidelines in a written



1 form, or are they part of the contract?

2 A. I'm not sure.

3 Q. But you are sure that that is one of

4 the factors in entering into this coordination with

5 DynCorp?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. Do you know if the pilots themselves

8 are instructed as to the possible risks of spraying

9 humans?

10 A. I don't know that for a fact.

11 Q. Do you know if the containers for

12 the fumigant that you are using contain warning

13 labels of any sort?

14 A. I don't know that.

15 Q. Should they, according to your

16 understanding of the safety precautions?

17 MR. RIVERA: Object to the form of the

18 question. You're asking him should the --


20 Q. Is there any regulation, guideline

21 or requirement of the contract or any other

22 direction that your bureau has given to DynCorp to



1 say that the barrel storing this material for use

2 must have a warning label as to its possible

3 negative health effects?

4 A. I don't know.

5 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Let's mark this as

6 Plaintiffs' Exhibit 6.

7 (Beers Deposition Exhibit No. 6

8 was marked for identification.)


10 Q. Mr. Beers, I've handed you

11 Plaintiffs' Exhibit 6, which is a report on the

12 study of health complaints in Columbia related to

13 aerial eradication. This was produced to me by

14 Mr. Gallagher, and it's on the list that I showed

15 you earlier of the documents produced. I believe

16 you said that you had not reviewed any of the

17 documents.

18 So my question is simply have you

19 ever reviewed this particular report?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. In what context?

22 A. It was information that had been



1 produced by the embassy concerning health effects

2 that was of interest to me. I read it.

3 Q. What conclusion, if any, did you

4 draw from this report regarding the risk to humans

5 being sprayed with the fumigant that you are using

6 in Columbia?

7 A. That this report did not provide a

8 conclusion that would suggest that there is a risk

9 to humans.

10 Q. Did it prove the opposite, though,

11 in your mind that there is no risk to humans?

12 A. No.

13 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: I have another report

14 that we're going to call Plaintiffs' Exhibit 7.

15 (Beers Deposition Exhibit No. 7

16 was marked for identification.)


18 Q. Have you ever seen this report

19 before?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Did you have a role in drafting it?

22 A. No.



1 Q. Did you have a review role?

2 A. Not in the chain of its

3 finalization, no.

4 Q. In what sense did you?

5 A. I read it in conjunction with my

6 work. I looked at it as it was being prepared. I

7 did not personally sign off on this document when

8 it went forward.

9 Q. The pages aren't numbered, but if

10 you take the second to last page, the second new

11 paragraph, "Human dietary exposures and risks are

12 minimal. Exposure to workers," et cetera.

13 Do you know what studies, if any,

14 that is based on?

15 A. There are, as I said earlier, a

16 series of studies which have been done with

17 respect, on the one hand, to the specific testing

18 for toxicity and long-term effects on individuals?

19 There have been other studies which

20 use that information and other information that

21 reach the conclusions of the first sentence,

22 including studies that were done by the United



1 Nations.

2 Q. Is it your understanding that this

3 particular paragraph I have pointed to you, if you

4 look at the paragraph above and below it, there's a

5 reference to the word "glyphosate".

6 Is it your understanding that these

7 studies were limited to glyphosate?

8 A. And its normally included

9 surfactants.

10 Q. But not the mixture that you're

11 using in Columbia?

12 A. It did not include reference to any

13 Cosmo-Flux, to the best of my knowledge.

14 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: I have one more

15 document that we will call Plaintiffs' Number 8.

16 (Beers Deposition Exhibit No. 8

17 was marked for identification.)


19 Q. Have you ever seen this before,

20 Mr. Beers?

21 A. I certainly have seen something that

22 is very similar to it. What doesn't -- what I



1 don't remember is a document that began with these

2 questions. I remember a document very much like

3 this, if not the same thing, which included

4 questions and answers like these.

5 Q. The document that you're referring

6 to, was it still focused on the program in

7 Columbia?

8 A. Yes, and it was produced by the

9 Narcotics Affairs Section.

10 Q. Do you know who in the Narcotics

11 Affairs Section produced the document you recall,

12 whether or not it was this one?

13 A. I believe the individual in question

14 would have been Suzanne Shelton.

15 Q. What is her position?

16 A. She is a member of the Narcotics

17 Affairs Section.

18 Q. Is she a scientist?

19 A. No.

20 Q. What is her background?

21 A. She's a lawyer.

22 Q. On that note, Mr. Beers, your



1 background is history; is that correct?

2 A. I have a rather eclectic background.

3 But, yes, that's my academic training.

4 Q. But you're not a chemist or a

5 biologist?

6 A. I am not a scientist.

7 Q. Are you aware of any studies that

8 have tested just glyphosate for damage from

9 inhalation on humans?

10 A. Not that I remember. However --

11 excuse me -- the standard test includes inhalation.

12 Q. The standard test?

13 A. Dermatology, inhalation, eye

14 irritation and a fourth category.

15 Q. What is the fourth category?

16 A. I don't remember.

17 Q. When you say standard test though,

18 again you're referring to the tests on the

19 commercial products here in the United States?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. Mr. Beers, the area of Columbia, the

22 width of which you have not told me but that we



1 have called the no-spray zone, is there any

2 alternative being used there to eradicate the coca

3 plants?

4 A. No, not to my knowledge.

5 Q. I'm not under oath, but I'm going to

6 tell you truthfully that my 7-year-old and I were

7 sort of discussing this case, and he suggested that

8 hand picking -- his name is Alexander -- seems to

9 be a logical thing to do, that people wouldn't be

10 hurt and they could actually find the real plants

11 that they're looking for.

12 Has that option been explored at all

13 by your bureau?

14 MR. RIVERA: I'll object to the form of

15 the question to the extent that it requires

16 divulging any classified or otherwise protected

17 information. Otherwise, you may answer.

18 THE WITNESS: We use manual eradication

19 in other countries. The governments, excuse me, of

20 those countries use manual eradiation. Peru and

21 Bolivia, to be specific, in the Andean region.




1 Q. Why is it not being used in

2 Columbia?

3 MR. RIVERA: Same objection.

4 THE WITNESS: The volume of the coca, the

5 security considerations to put people on the

6 ground.


8 Q. I would like to take about a

9 five-minute break. We're close to wrapping up.

10 (A brief recess was taken.)


12 Q. Thank you for your indulgence,

13 Mr. Beers. I'm just about done here.

14 Have you heard of any studies,

15 particularly in California, where students have

16 reported negative health effects from the spraying

17 of the fumigant known as Roundup?

18 A. No, I can't say that I have.

19 Q. If we look at Exhibits 6, 7 and 8,

20 the three studies that were produced by

21 Mr. Gallagher to me -- I'll be very careful with

22 the question, and you'll probably be instructed to



1 be very careful with the answer -- I'm not asking

2 you for anything, other than whether you can tell

3 me if there are other studies that you're aware of

4 that show any negative effects of the fumigant that

5 you are using in Columbia?

6 A. I know of no studies that show a

7 negative effect of the fumigant that we are using

8 in Columbia.

9 Q. Do you know of any studies, other

10 than these three that are Exhibit 6 through 8, that

11 show that it does not hurt anyone to spray the

12 fumigant that you are using in Columbia, that are

13 specific to that fumigant?

14 MR. RIVERA: If I can just clarify the

15 question, you're asking for State Department

16 information or studies that are reflected in State

17 Department materials as opposed to EPA or anyone

18 else?

19 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Any study.

20 THE WITNESS: Relevant to Columbia?


22 Q. Yes.



1 A. There is another study which I have

2 not seen the final version of it -- although, it

3 may now exist -- which was similar to the Aponte

4 study, a different area and a larger group.

5 Q. Do you know who is conducting that

6 study?

7 A. I believe it is the same group of

8 people.

9 Q. That did?

10 A. The Aponte study.

11 Q. Was any study done dealing with the

12 fumigant that you are using in Columbia on Patrick

13 Air Force Base?

14 A. I'm not aware of one.

15 Q. Who trains the DynCorp pilots that

16 are operating in Columbia?

17 A. The DynCorp pilots that are

18 operating in Columbia are provided through a

19 subcontractor, East Corporation. The Air Wing and

20 DynCorp together have a pilot training program. I

21 can't say in any individual instance who

22 specifically trained that pilot on this mission.



1 They are all experienced pilots.

2 Q. But your wing division does some

3 training in Columbia?

4 A. Or in Patrick.

5 Q. For people that would be going down

6 to Columbia?

7 A. That's correct.

8 Q. You said the Columbian government

9 could stop a particular fumigation flight if the

10 wind was to great?

11 A. Right.

12 Q. Are there any other --

13 A. Or any other reason. They could

14 stop it, period.

15 MR. RIVERA: Let me instruct the witness

16 to let Mr. Collingsworth finish his question.

17 THE WITNESS: Sorry.


19 Q. Are you aware of any other reasons

20 that in fact have been used to stop a flight, other

21 than weather, by the Columbian government?

22 A. You're including wind within the



1 weather question?

2 Q. Yes.

3 A. Yes, I am.

4 Q. What was the reason or reasons?

5 A. The government of Columbia stopped

6 spraying in Putumayo on approximately the 5th of

7 February of the year 2001 because they wanted to

8 end spraying in Putumayo at that time to see what

9 would happen with respect to the local campesino

10 signing up for alternative development.

11 Q. Was it resumed?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Any other reasons you're aware of

14 why the Columbian government stopped the spraying?

15 MR. RIVERA: Stopped the spraying in

16 Putumayo?

17 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: In Columbia.

18 MR. RIVERA: Ever?


20 THE WITNESS: No, I'm not.


22 Q. Could your bureau stop a particular



1 spray run for any reason?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. What would the reasons be that your

4 bureau would be authorized to stop a particular

5 fumigation run in Columbia?

6 A. In the judgment of the people who

7 were involved, the spraying conditions were such

8 that it was inappropriate, assuming that the

9 Columbian government hadn't on its on recognizance

10 stopped that or for other considerations which

11 might be political.

12 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: I'm handing you an

13 exhibit that we're going to mark as Plaintiffs'

14 Number 9.

15 (Beers Deposition Exhibit No. 9

16 was marked for identification.)


18 Q. Mr. Beers, I've handed you a

19 Declaration signed by a Salvador Quishpe, who is

20 the political director of an organization called

21 Conaie.

22 Do you know that organization? Have




1 you heard of them before?

2 A. I'm not sure.

3 Q. I would direct your attention to

4 paragraph number 5, the last paragraph.

5 A. (Witness complies.)

6 Q. If you could read that paragraph.

7 MR. RIVERA: Can Mr. Beers have a minute

8 to read the entire document?


10 MR. RIVERA: Thank you.


12 Q. Have you had a chance to review

13 paragraph number five?

14 A. I have.

15 Q. In paragraph number five, the

16 declarant is questioning the foreign policy

17 objectives of the United States government.

18 And my question to you is, is a

19 factor of your foreign policy considerations that

20 are enumerated throughout your own Declaration

21 trying to maintain good relations with the local

22 populations who are not drug traffickers and who



1 are not terrorists?

2 MR. RIVERA: I'm sorry, the local

3 population in Columbia?


5 THE WITNESS: It is not the policy of the

6 United States to drive people away from the United

7 States.


9 Q. Have you ever sent or directed

10 anyone to go to Ecuador to specifically investigate

11 whether there are effects that would be visible

12 that would be consistent with the claim that the

13 fumigation has occurred in Ecuador?

14 MR. RIVERA: I'll object to the extent

15 that it calls for a revealing any classified or

16 other national security protected information.

17 THE WITNESS: Not to my knowledge.


19 Q. Are there any plans to do that?

20 MR. RIVERA: Same objection.

21 THE WITNESS: Not at present.




1 Q. Are you aware of any study done by

2 anyone that would indicate to your satisfaction

3 that there is no harm done in Ecuador that would be

4 consistent with fumigation?

5 A. We have looked into the allegations,

6 and we have found no evidence that spraying was

7 done in Ecuador or that spray drifted into Ecuador.

8 Q. But you have said that you didn't

9 send anyone to Ecuador to do that.

10 How did you accomplish that?

11 A. We know where the planes are.

12 Q. So based on your knowledge of where

13 the planes actually flew?

14 A. That's correct.

15 Q. What evidence do you have of the

16 plane flight paths that would to you demonstrate

17 that it is impossible that they sprayed in Ecuador?

18 A. Almost all planes and one plane on

19 every flight of planes is equipped with a location

20 system which tells us where the plane is.

21 Q. What is the closest, as you sit here

22 today, that you're aware of a plane that was




1 spraying under Plan Columbia came to the border

2 with Ecuador ever in the history of Plan Columbia?

3 MR. RIVERA: I'll object to the question

4 to the extent that it calls for revealing any

5 classified State secret information.

6 THE WITNESS: I'm not in a position to

7 answer that question.


9 Q. Do you know the answer to it and

10 you're not answering because --

11 A. No, I don't know the answer to the

12 question.

13 Q. Who would know the answer to that

14 question on your staff? Is there someone who is

15 particularly --

16 A. Officials in the Air Wing.

17 Q. Is there one particular official who

18 would be most likely to have that information?

19 A. I'm not sure.

20 Q. Do you have some options for me?

21 A. Mr. Etheridge.

22 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Mr. Beers, that



1 concludes my questions. Thank you very much.

2 THE WITNESS: Thank you.

3 MR. COLLINGSWORTH: Does anyone else have

4 anything?

5 MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: No questions.

6 (Whereupon, at 11:47 a.m., the deposition

7 of RAND BEERS was concluded.)

8 * * * * *




















4 I, RAND BEERS, the witness herein, having

5 read the foregoing testimony of the pages of this

6 deposition do hereby certify it to be a true and

7 correct transcript, subject to the corrections, if

8 any, shown on the attached page.



11 ________________________



14 Subscribed and sworn to before me

15 this ______day of____________, 2002.

16 __________________________________.












4 I, SHIRLEY S. MITCHELL, Notary Public

5 within and for the District of Columbia, do hereby

6 certify:

7 That the witness whose deposition is

8 hereinbefore set forth, was duly sworn and that the

9 within transcript is a true record of the testimony

10 given by such witness.

11 I further certify that I am not related

12 to any of the parties to this action by blood or

13 marriage and that I am in no way interested in the

14 outcome of this matter.

15 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set

16 my hand this _______day of __________, 2002.



19 __________________________

20 My Commission Expires:

21 March 31, 2005


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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