Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2001 Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: John Burgess


In 1991, Elliot Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the 
Iran-Contra scandal. Abrams covered up massacres that the U.S.-funded 
Salvadoran military committed in the l980s. President Bush has just 
appointed Abrams to head the National Security Council's office for 
democracy, human rights and international operations.

Let's revisit what we learned during the Iran-Contra hearings. One 
was that the CIA was actively involved in smuggling drugs into the 
country to fund paramilitary operations in South America. Some of the 
senators who sat through those hearings in the mid-1980s and are 
still in office expressed disgust and amazement when these facts were 

The United States is engaged in a so-called drug war in Columbia and 
Venezuela. The awful truth is that nothing has been done to change 
CIA operations since the Contra hearings. Forty percent of the coca 
fields are under the control of paramilitaries, and the rest is 
controlled by left-wing guerrillas.

Abrams' appointment tells me that nothing has changed. The drug war 
is being used to raise money, as it was in the past for covert CIA 
operations. And, just as in the past, the CIA is probably helping to 
bring drugs into this country to fund those operations.

The appointment of a man who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress to 
cover up drug smuggling and human-rights abuses confirms that this 
so-called war on drugs must stop.

John Burgess

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