Newsbrief: Colombia to Get $100 Million Bounty for Supporting Iraq War 3/28/03

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The government of hard-line Colombian President Alvaro Uribe won an extra $100 million to pursue its war against the drug trade and leftist guerrillas by joining -- along with such powerhouse states as El Salvador, Eritrea and the Marshall Islands -- the list of Bush administration allies in the invasion of Iraq. Colombia was rewarded for its stand this week when the Bush administration unveiled its $75 billion Iraq war appropriation request, including $100 million for Uribe's war.

The $100 million comes in addition to the roughly $500 million already approved in the 2003 budget. The Bush administration is seeking another $600 million for Colombia next year. The US has spent nearly $2 billion in recent years to inflame the Colombian conflict.

The Bogota newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday that additional funds will be used for the "struggle against terrorism." Most of the money will be used to pay for equipment and training to beef up the government's intelligence capabilities, the newspaper reported.

In contrast to the simplistic "war against terrorism" rhetoric increasingly favored by the US and its allies against any armed resistance anywhere, the four-decade old Colombian civil war is a complex and complicated struggle involving large guerrilla armies, paramilitary bands and the Colombian security apparatus, and is rooted in deep, longstanding social inequalities.

But since the 2001 attacks on the US, both the US and other governments facing armed resistance have attempted to brand such conflicts as "terrorism," implying that all such struggles are somehow linked in a web of evil.

The Bush administration's $74.7 billion Iraq war appropriation request includes $5 billion for countries who have kept their mouths shut about the war (Egypt, Jordan), the rightwing government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, countries enlisted in the struggle against Al Qaeda (Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines), and countries that provided rhetorical support for the Iraq invasion (Eastern Europe), as well as Colombia.

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Issue #280, 3/28/03 The Week Online Needs Your Help | Editorial: I Smuggled Coca Soap into the United States | Road to Vienna: British Government Chides International Narcotics Control Board on Cannabis Rescheduling Critique | Will Canada Marijuana Decriminalization Be Collateral Damage in Iraq War? | Maryland Legislature Rebuffs Drug Czar, Passes Medical Marijuana Bill, Awaits Governor's Signature | DRCNet Interview: Ed Forchion, the New Jersey Weedman | Newsbrief: DEA Issues Final Hemp Rule, Would Ban Hemp Food Products in Weeks, Hempsters Fight Back | Newsbrief: Bill to Allow Syringe Purchases Moving in Illinois Legislature | Newsbrief: Bill to Restrict Needle Exchanges Gets Push in Rhode Island | Newsbrief: Colombia to Get $100 Million Bounty for Supporting Iraq War | Newsbrief: More Americans Dead in Colombia | Newsbrief: Lawsuit Charges Chicago Cops with Pattern of Illegal Stops, Searches of Minorities | Newsbrief: Bush to Nominate Woman Prosecutor to Head DEA | Newsbrief: Silence on Pusherstrasse -- Christiania Drug Sellers Strike for Future of "Free City" | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Jobs at WOLA | The Reformer's Calendar

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