The Obama administration’s position on medical marijuana, circa 2011 (via the May 2, 2011 letter sent from the office of the United States Attorney, District of Arizona, to the Arizona Department of Health Services re: the implementation of the voter-approved Medical Marijuana Program):
“The United States Attorneys Office … will vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in the unlawful manufacturing, distribution and marketing activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”
A lot can change in two years — including the administration’s attitude toward the state-authorized use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.
In April, NORML blogged about the U.S. Department of Justice, particularly U.S. Attorneys Jenny Durkan of Seattle and Michael Ormsby of Spokane, threatening “civil and criminal legal remedies” (read: sanctions) against Washington state citizens, including state employees, who assist with or engage in the production or distribution of medical cannabis, “even if such activities are permitted under state law.” The U.S. Attorneys’ threats came in response to an inquiry from Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, who most likely was seeking ‘political cover’ so that she could publicly ‘justify’ her veto of legislation (SB 5073) that sought to license and regulate the dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified persons, and would have enacted additional legal protections for patients who voluntarily participated in a statewide registry. The threats worked; Gov. Gregoire cited them in her veto statement Friday.
In fact, the threats worked so well, that in recent days U.S. Attorneys in other states with active medical marijuana programs have begun issuing similar menacing statements.
via Marijuana Law Reform – NORML.
Documents reveal that Blackwater has been busy expanding its corporate reach by providing intelligence services for agencies such as the Canadian Military, Netherlands Police and corporations like Monsanto.
Blackwater is a private, mercenary army. They’ve been called the ‘shadow army,’ and most notoriously worked for the United States in Iraq, where the company courted controversy. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book about Blackwater, wrote an exclusive for The Nation, revealing general details of the extent of the Blackwater business operations. Scahill managed to obtain documents that, according to Scahill, show “… entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater’s work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation.”
A spokesperson for Monsanto, reached by Scahill, first denied the relationship with Blackwater, but then admitted that Monsanto had paid Total Intelligence for intelligence reoprts “… about the activities of groups or individuals that could pose a risk to company personnel or operations around the world which were developed by monitoring local media reports and other publicly available information. The subject matter ranged from information regarding terrorist incidents in Asia or kidnappings in Central America to scanning the content of activist blogs and websites.”
via Monsanto hired mercenary Blackwater to infiltrate anti-GMO groups.
Law enforcement exposed offering to pay informants in Florida
There were two reports this week of the FBI / police in Florida seeking informants to provide intelligence on the local animal rights movement.
In the first instance, a woman in West Palm Beach who is active in dog rescue was visited at home by an FBI agent. They told her anti-vivisection activists are “crossing the line,” becoming “dangerous” and will “hurt someone.” The agent told her, “You have access that I don’t have.” She was told that she would be “rewarded” for any information she provided The agent also offered to take her to lunch. She told the agent she wasn’t interested. Before leaving, the agent warned her not to associate with animal rights activists.
Earlier in April, an activist who does web design for a living was contacted by a “fitness trainer” looking for help creating a website. The activist met the woman at a cafe and they spoke for an hour about the project. The “trainer” supplemented her story with photos of her working out, etc. During a second meeting, out of the blue, the woman mentioned that her boyfriend was friends with someone who works for the FBI, and that the FBI would “pay really well” for information about local animal rights activists. She claimed to be concerned that activists “could get violent.” The activist quickly ended the conversation.
It is important to raise awareness when the FBI starts making the rounds. The best defense is always silence, and stories like this should provide a prompt for activists to remind themselves why it is never ok to talk to the police. If you have not already, please read If An Agent Knocks.
If you have been visited by the FBI, please call the NLG’s Green Scare hotline: 888-NLG-ECOLAW.
- Peter Young
via Voice of the Voiceless: Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.) news, understanding the Animal Liberation Front & animal rights activism.