I. Earlier in the week, the Obama administration helped coordinate the simultaneous shutdowns of several OWS encampments around the country:
Remember when people were freaking out over the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and all this other conveniently ready-to-go post-9/11 police state stuff, because it would obviously be just a matter of time before the whole apparatus was turned against non-Muslim Americans when they started getting complain-y about the social injustice and economic injustice and income inequality and endless recession and permanent unemployment? That day is now, and has been for some time. But it’s also now confirmed that it’s now, as some Justice Department official screwed up and admitted that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated the riot-cop raids on a dozen major #Occupy Wall Street demonstration camps nationwide yesterday and today. (Oh, and tonight, too: Seattle is being busted up by the riot cops right now, so be careful out there.)Here's Michael Moore on this:
Rick Ellis of the Minneapolis edition of Examiner.com has this, based on a “background conversation” he had with a Justice Department official on Monday night:
Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.Well gosh, that’s exactly what happened. Good to know the FBI and DHS are “always there to help a brother out.” (This is their motto, in Latin.)
According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.
(And for those who are understandably doubtful about Examiner.com as a news source, here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)
II. Yesterday, around Washington State, Obama's Justice Department raided at last 14 legal (by Washington State and local laws) medical marijuana dispensaries, in coordinated raids that were most likely signed off on by the president:
In one of the largest day of raids on marijuana dispensaries since President Obama took office, at least 14 dispensaries were hit in Washington state yesterday in a coordinated set of actions. From the Seattle Times:
At least 14 Puget Sound-area medical-marijuana dispensaries were swept up in a long-expected law-enforcement raid that ranks as the largest since the state approved medical marijuana.
The coordinated raids across Thurston, Pierce and King counties targeted dispensaries that, according to law enforcement, were hiding behind the medical-marijuana law to make illegal sales, in some cases to people who were not patients. More than a dozen people were arrested.
The multiple raids across Washington state included both local and federal law enforcement agencies.The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said the raids in Seattle were part of four ongoing investigations.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the dispensaries targeted were not just violating federal laws against marijuana; they were also in violation of the state’s medical marijuana law. From United States Attorney office of the Western District of Washington:
Today, Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement executed search warrants in four ongoing federal investigations in Western Washington relating to illegal drug distribution and other crimes in violation of federal law. Each of the investigations targets commercial enterprises that purport to operate as “medical” marijuana establishments but also fail to comply with applicable state law.
*emphasis added.As set forth in the search warrant affidavits unsealed by the U.S. District Court today, these businesses attracted the attention of federal law enforcement for a number of reasons: their failure to abide by state medical marijuana guidelines; indications that they were distributing large amounts of drugs; and evidence they were laundering large amounts of money. Some of these marijuana stores were the subject of complaints from their surrounding communities as well as medical marijuana supporters, concerned about businesses operating outside the letter and spirit of state law. One operator was arrested this morning for violating the court ordered terms of his federal supervised release for a prior federal conviction.
We will likely find out in the coming months if these raids were just another piece of the Obama administration’s multi-agency war on medical marijuana or were exclusively about prosecuting a handful of bad actors who were flaunting the state’s medical marijuana laws.
It would be easier to believe the DOJ’s claims that these federal raids were part of a good faith effort to enforce the state’s medical marijuana laws if Obama administration had not already taken so many actions to undermine states’ medical marijuana systems.