Issue # 18 Sign Up for Free Mailing List

March 1, 2002

Narco News '02

Beers Fumigated

In Deposition

Part II of a Series

See Part I

DynCorp Charged with Terrorism

Beers Invokes "National Security"

over Brand Name of Herbicide

By Al Giordano and S. González

Washington, DC: In a Federal courthouse on Wednesday, February 27, a red-haired and red-faced Rand Beers of the US State Department was placed under oath by attorneys for indigenous peasants in Ecuador.

Beers was grilled to reveal facts about the US-sponsored herbicide fumigation program in Colombia regarding the "accidental fumigation" across national borders into Ecuador.

The deposition was part of the proceedings surrounding the historic class-action suit brought by Ecuador's peasants with the assistance of the International Labor Rights Fund, reported last week by Narco News.

Beers was accompanied by a platoon of government and private attorneys, including defendant DynCorp's counsel Joe Hollingsworth of the Spriggs & Howard law firm and R.Y. Morrel, a DynCorp vice president, as well as State Department attorney Dennis Gallagher, Justice Department attorney William Rivera and an attorney from the Pentagon (at press time, we have not yet been able to identify him.)

International Labor Rights Fund attorney Terry Collingsworth interrogated Beers about the conduct of the DynCorp defendants in their contract with the U.S. government to exterminate, from airplanes, cocaine and poppy plants in large tracts of the Amazon rainforest that are owned by private citizens in Colombia.

Invoking "national security" Beers refused to answer questions about the specific commercial name of the herbicide being used in the US-sponsored Plan Colombia. (Narco News asks: What on earth does a brand name possibly have to do with "national security"?)

Beers also refused to disclose the width of the "no spray zone" at the Ecuador-Colombia border, although he acknowledged that there was one.

Beers did admit that "Plan Colombia is not supposed to take place in Ecuador," and that the herbicide mixture used for fumigation "has never been tested," confirming key claims by the indigenous Plaintiffs.

According to the Plaintiffs, the DynCorp defendants also sprayed large sections of Ecuador that border Colombia, causing severe physical and mental damage to the Plaintiffs, their children and other similarly situated lawful residents of Ecuador. The lawsuit alleges that the citizenry has been subjected to grave human rights abuses, including systematic damage to their persons and property, torture, extra-judicial killings and crimes against humanity in violation of the Alien Tort Claims Act ("ATCA"), 28 U.S.C. §1350, the Torture Victims Protection Act ("TVPA"), international human rights law, and the statutory and common tort law of the District of Columbia.

See the full legal complaint at:

In a post-deposition interview, Collingsworth told Narco News that the deposition went "wonderfully." According to Collingsworth, Rand Beers stated that "Plan Colombia is not supposed to take place in Ecuador," and that the mixture used for fumigation "has never been tested," confirming criticisms of the program.

Also appearing at the deposition on behalf of the Plaintiffs are United States attorneys Cristobál Bonifaz, John Bonifaz and Natacha Thys.

A transcript of the deposition is being prepared and will be made available as soon as possible on Narco News.

for more Narco News, click here

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