The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Kerry foreign policy supremo: it's not looking good...

[Previous piece on Kerry and foreign policy on June 11 - several before that, too.]

For a profile, AP's piece on leading Kerry foreign affairs adviser Rand Beers from Nancy Benac (name rings no bells) is, at 750 words, a little on the short side [1]. But potent for all that.

The lede is a terrible, sub-Bob Woodward, piece of dialogue that the writer could never have heard: Beers, just before the Iraq invasion, telling long time friend and colleague Richard Clarke - the man with the book, I assume - that he couldn't go on as part of the Administration.

However, my interest is not Benac's work. I assume that Beers was suggested to AP as a suitable case for treatment. The tone of the piece is about as admiring as the pro-Bush stuff that liberals get their panties in a bunch over.

For all the suspicion that the press has been captured by Bush and Co, one senses a definite Vicar of Bray instinct for self-preservation here.

Graf at random:
While working in government, Beers had a reputation as a nonpolitical sort, a hard worker who kept his ego in check.

Jesus! How much journalism went into checking out those 'facts', I wonder?

Or this:
R. Rand Beers - Randy to his friends - is a Democrat who spent a good part of his government career getting things done for Republican presidents.

Pass the sick-bag, Alice - as John Junor used to say.

Apparently, Beers has been knocking around the Federal government since joining State in 1971. But, latterly, he was involved in the South American end of the bloody farce known as the War on Drugs.

Who should pop up but our old mate Sandy Berger, talking about the Clinton transition in 1992:
"We decided to keep on about half a dozen, including Rand," said Berger, who assumed Beers was a Republican. "It was clear that he was extraordinarily able and very knowledgeable in the area that he was working," a portfolio known as "drugs and thugs" - narcotics and counterterrorism. "He is an absolute straight shooter, someone with enormous integrity."

Drugs and thugs. Clearly, we need to establish exactly what Beers has been up to throughout his long career in government. Cursory examination suggests that the online record is sketchy, to say the least: actual journalism may be required!

In the meantime, I suspect that nosing around the various elements of Narconews will prove fruitful [2]. Beers' former activities are in their wheelhouse.

Already, cursory searching produces a correction by Beers of testimony given to the US District Court for DC in the DynoCorp case, which concerned the fumigation of Ecuadorian land (and those living on it) [3]. The main false statement withdrawn by Beers was
It is believed that FARC terrorists have received training at Al Qaida terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

The incendiary nature of such testimony is self-evident. A UPI piece dated August 9 2002 includes the following:
"There doesn't seem to be any evidence of FARC going to Afghanistan to train," a U.S. intelligence official said. "We have never briefed anyone on that and frankly, I doubt anyone has ever alleged that in a briefing to the State Department or anyone else."

"That statement is totally from left field," said a top federal law enforcement official, who reviewed the proffer. "I don't know where (Beers) is getting that. We have never had any indication that FARC guys have ever gone to Afghanistan."

"My first reaction was that Rand must have misspoke," said a veteran congressional staffer with extensive experience in the Colombian drug war. "But when I saw it was a proffer signed under oath, I couldn't believe he would do that. I have no idea why he would say that."

Of course, some American liberals oppose Kerry's position on Venezuela - his pro-referendum statement of March 19 is distinctly unfriendly to Hugo Chávez - and see Mr Fumigation Beers behind the stance.

Much more to come on Beers, I suspect [4].

  1. Has it been butchered by the Post-Intelligencer? Not yet sufficiently interested to find out.

  2. I've already flagged a page of theirs on the careers of Kerry Administration hopefuls Berger and Richard Holbrooke.

  3. The page has links to other DynoCorp trial paperwork. The divining-rod is twitching...

  4. While the URLs are to hand, pieces on, or namechecking, Beers: a 2003 piece on fumigation in Colombia; the March 31 1998 hearing of the House International Relations Committee on US drug policy and Colombia; an April 18 2004 Miami Herald round-up of Kerry's likely policy on the Americas; a 1996 Congressional Report on (what it calls) The Saga of Roger Tamraz; a WaPo piece dated June 16 2003 on Beers and terrorism; the transcript of a June 25 2003 interview of Beers on Nightline.


Micro-bio of Beers from Kennedy School of Government - he is, or was, an adjunct lecturer; links to Congressional hearings at which Beers testified on narcotics-related matters in 1999 and 2000 (there should be much other Beers-related Congressional stuff); a 2001 German paper (translated into English) on some of the agents used on coca-growers in the War on Drugs (there are carloads of stuff on the War on Drugs produced in Colombia and Peru in particular - extracting the Beers-related material, not a half-hour's job); warm words on the War on Drugs from Beers in his Mr Fumigation days here, here, here and here.


A couple of the URLs on the Narconews DynoCorp page mentioned above are dead: by some miracle, we have Wayback caches of both the original complaint against DynCorp and Rand Beers' original affidavit (PDF) - which includes the false statement about FARC training in Afghanistan.

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