Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Author: Gary Paudler


"CIA Misidentified Plane Downed in Peru as Possible Drug Runner" (April 23) 
said that the 1994 law enacted by Congress limits the assistance provided 
by the U.S. in foreign drug interdiction to countries with procedures in 
place to protect against innocent loss of life. In the United States, even 
suspected drug runners are innocent until convicted in court and, if 
convicted, they still would not face execution.

In the recent incident in Peru, the CIA-assisted Peruvian military had no 
evidence that the plane carried drugs yet shot to kill after failing to get 
a response from the civilian plane to communications in Spanish over 
military radio frequencies. It was only the pilot's heroic water landing 
after sustaining machine gun wounds to his legs that averted even worse 
loss of life. If the Peruvian jet pilot and his superiors were just 
following procedure, then the U.S. clearly should withdraw our support of 
Peru's inept war on drugs.

Gary Paudler

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