Newsbrief: Colombian Leader Wants Drug Tests for Americans, Europeans, and Revival of Drug Plane Shootdown Program Newsbrief: A Sweet Decision -- Federal Judge Tells New York Cops to Quit Hassling Needle Exchange Participants 11/29/02

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Putting the blame for Colombian drug trafficking squarely at the feet of consuming nations, hard-line Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on November 22 urged that Americans and Europeans be forced to submit to drug testing -- and that we should begin with top-level executives. Uribe also called for the reinstatement of the US policy of cooperating with Andean countries to shoot down suspected drug trafficking planes. That policy was halted last year after the Peruvian Air Force and CIA spotters blew a small plane out of the sky over the Amazon, killing an American missionary and her infant child.

"We need more serious commitments from the consumer countries," Uribe told a meeting of the Iberoamerican Association of Public Ministers in Bogota, according to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. Uribe said a good first step would be to require drug testing for Americans and Europeans, starting with high-level executives. "Perhaps they would do that to demonstrate to the world their solidarity with our country," he said.

Uribe also urged that those who test positive be punished. "Just as here we are going to approve the criminalization of personal doses, in the United States and Europe the citizenry should submit to a drug test to aid us to defeat it, to compensate for our great sacrifice, to support their counterparts," he said. "If they lower consumption in the United States, if they lower the consumption in Europe, and if we also defeat consumption, then we can defeat the production," said Uribe. He didn't mention Brazil.

About 90% of the world's cocaine is produced in Colombia, where in recent years competing armed groups have used the profits to finance that country's never-ending civil war. Possession of drugs for personal use was decriminalized on constitutional grounds by Colombia's Supreme Court in 1994, but early last month Uribe announced an effort to reverse that policy (

Uribe also took advantage of the forum provided by the meeting of Latin American equivalents to the US Attorney General to ask the US government to reinstate its aerial shootdown program. He noted that Colombia makes drug seizures "daily," but "to be effective, we need interdiction." He asked US Assistant Attorney General Mary Lee Warren, who was at the meeting, to expedite the reintroduction of the program, which resulted in at least 25 planes being blown out of the sky in the 1990s in Peru and Colombia.

Gen. James Hill, chief of the US Southern Command, told El Tiempo that the US government has every intention of reinstating the program, but that "bureaucratic" problems over contracts for the program have prevented it from happening yet. El Tiempo also cited "official sources" in Washington as saying that Colombian and Peruvian pilots for the shootdown program had already been trained in the US months ago, but that bureaucratic wrangling could require the personal intervention of President Bush to break the impasse.

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Issue #265, 11/29/02 DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: Going Out of Business | Pressure on Prisons: State Budget Crises Begin to Hit Home, Moves Afoot in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Virginia to Set Some Free | Weitzel Acquitted in Utah Pain Treatment Manslaughter Case Retrial | The Horrors of War: Forgetting the Occupation Through Obliteration | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Plan Colombia Foe Wins Ecuador Presidency -- Legalization Talk Among Gutierrez Supporters | Newsbrief: Brazil Set to Become World's Biggest Cocaine Consumer | Newsbrief: Colombian Leader Wants Drug Tests for Americans, Europeans, and Revival of Drug Plane Shootdown Program 265/sweetruling Newsbrief: A Sweet Decision -- Federal Judge Tells New York Cops to Quit Hassling Needle Exchange Participants | Newsbrief: DEA to Double Ecstasy Investigations | Newsbrief: ACLU to Hire Bob Barr as Privacy Issues Consultant | Correction/Retraction: NORML Did Help the Marijuana Reform Party | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

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