Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Law? No Warrant? No Problem!



"Do you expect to see any violence here today?"

"I certainly hope so." --

Narcotics officer Sgt. Stedenko, aka "Hardhat," answers a reporter's question at a drug checkpoint on the U.S.- Mexican border, from the film Up In Smoke.


Sal Agro, a 67-year-old man from Lake Orion, Michigan, died of a heart attack on September 2. Although those responsible for Agro's untimely death will never admit as much, he was the victim of an act of state terrorism carried out a week earlier by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office

Agro, along with his son, helped operate a treatment center in nearby Ferndale called Clinical Relief that provided medical marijuana to physician-approved clients under a 2008 Michigan state law. Sal, who had recently undergone hip surgery, was authorized to grow and use marijuana himself. His wife was authorized both to use marijuana and provide it to others as a caregiver. They had invited local officials to inspect the Clinical Relief facility.

He obeyed the rules, and they killed him anyway: Sal Agro, RIP.


Last June, with at least eight applications pending to open facilities like Clinical Relief, the Ferndale City Council imposed a temporary moratorium on dispensing medical marijuana while it explored new ways to harass the facilities through zoning restrictions. This prompted an objection from Mayor Craig Covey, who pointed out that the medical marijuana clinics would already be covered by existing ordinances. Nor were they likely to be profitable, given the detailed and often self-contradictory regulations inflicted on them under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), which voters approved by referendum in 2008.




On August 25, the Ferndale City Council lifted the moratorium. On the very next day, the local counter-narcotics Gestapo staged a paramilitary raid against several locations in Oakland County, arresting 15 people, confiscating cash and crops, illegally seizing medical records, and terrorizing unarmed, helpless people who suffer from cancer and other painful afflictions. Most importantly, of course, the raiders got a potent fix of their preferred narcotic -- the depraved thrill that comes from making powerless people submit to their whims.


It's hardly an exaggeration to characterize the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) as the local "Gestapo." Agro  used that term to describe the ski mask-clad marauders who laid waste to his home, ripping apart furniture, throwing potting soil into the carpets and -- of course -- helping themselves to whatever cash they could find.

A similar home invasion robbery was carried out at the Lake Orion home of Agro's daughter-in-law. "She's approximately five-foot, weighs about eighty-nine pounds, and the masked officers put a shotgun in her face and told her to freeze," a wearily disgusted Agro recalled to a local reporter.

After learning about the raid, Agro went back to his house, which was swarming with armed tax-feeders.

"I asked what was going on, and they said, `Your house is being searched,'" Agro related. "I said, `Do you have a search warrant?' They said, `Yes.' I said, `Can I see it?' They said, `When we get ready to show it to you.'" Despite the fact that the invaders had a note from a judge supposedly authorizing them to trash Agro's home, the raid was, as the victim pointed out, an act of "illegal search and seizure," since the money and property that were stolen had nothing to do with a criminal act.

The same lawless behavior was on display at another facility called Everyone’s CafĂ©, where police threw cancer patients to the ground and held them at gunpoint. 

"What took place in Oakland is nothing short of armed robbery," protests Gersh Avery, a local medical marijuana activist. "Patients in those locations had nothing to do with the day-to-day operations, yet their medicine was forcibly taken from them." The NET, Avery concludes, "deliberately targeted sick innocent people."

The official sadism continued after the case was split into two groups of defendants. Judge Richard Kuhn of Michigan's 51st District Court in Waterford refused to waive a bond condition permitting the use of medical marijuana by defendants who had received medical authorization to do so. Astoundingly, 43rd District Judge Joe Longo, who is presiding over the case in Ferndale, permitted defendants with medical marijuana cards to continue using the palliative while out on bail. This, of course, begs the question of why those people are criminal defendants in the first place.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard claims that the raid followed "undercover"  investigations of Clinical Relief and Everyone's Cafe. William Joseph Teichman, co-owner of Everyone's Cafe, insists that "We check the identification of every patient we deal with, and those undercover cops had either proper ID and paperwork or forgeries so good we couldn't tell the difference."

"I said `Hardhat'!"
In a post-raid press conference, Sheriff Bouchard -- grasping for a suitable soundbite -- described the local medical marijuana market as "something out of a bad Cheech and Chong Movie," without elaborating as to whether he considers "Up in Smoke" or "Nice Dreams" to be the gold standard of the stoner duo's cinematic output.

Bouchard himself essays a pretty decent impression of Sgt. Stedenko, the bullying, authoritarian narcotics officer who was a recurring nemesis in the comedy team's films.

Ryan Richmond, co-owner of Clinical Relief and one of the defendants in the Ferndale case, asserts that Bouchard "simply doesn't like the [Michigan state medical marijuana] law because it's too broad. If Bouchard has his way, we, you, have no rights even within the law."

Bouchard's critics are not limited to those he has arrested on marijuana-related charges.

"I personally don't understand why the county would use such a large amount of precious law enforcement resources on something like this," objects Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey. "This was obviously a political move by the sheriff to flex his muscles and send a message that he does not want medical marijuana clinics in Oakland County."

Covey also criticized "the use of SWAT teams with masked and armed officers ordering sick, elderly patients to the ground.... Now it's going to cost the taxpayers and the business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to sort through this mess."

Bouchard's admitted purpose in staging the raids was not to enforce the existing law, but rather to create a "test case" intended to change it, either in substance or in application.  By strict definition, this was an exercise of violence against the helpless intended to bring about political change -- that is, an act of official terrorism.

Although Bouchard accuses medical marijuana advocates and providers of engaging in "organized crime," that description makes a much better fit when applied to the NET, which is a federally designated multi-agency task force.  Thanks to an indulgence granted by the so-called Department of Justice, the NET has a license to steal in the name of "asset forfeiture."

According to the Madison Heights Police Department's 2009 Annual Report, last year the NET seized a little more than a ton of marijuana and pilfered nearly $2 million through asset forfeiture. The August 26 raids pulled down tens of thousands of dollars in cash, including money the late Sal Agro and his wife Barbara had put aside toward the purchase of a new car.

Bouchard and Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper insist that the MMMA is dangerously ambiguous because it supposedly encourages people to flout the state's existing laws criminalizing the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. They are correct in saying that the law is a masterpiece of self-contradiction, but emphatically wrong about the nature of the resulting danger: The risk of smoking weed without government permission is much less acute than that posed by power-intoxicated armed bureaucrats willing to carry out illegal paramilitary raids that target non-violent, chronically ill "offenders."

A concurring opinion by Judge P.J. O'Connell in a recent Michigan Court of Appeals case points out that "The MMMA does not codify a right to use marijuana; it merely provides a procedure through which seriously ill individuals using marijuana for its palliative effects can be identified and protected from prosecution under state law." It creates a narrow "affirmative defense to prosecutions under the Public Health Code, allowing an individual to use marijuana by freeing him or her from the threat of arrest and prosecution if that user meets all the requirements of the MMMA, while permitting prosecution under the Public Health Code if the individual fails to meet any of the requirements set forth under the MMMA."


The MMMA, furthermore, does not change the status of marijuana under state law, which lists the demonstrably harmless cannabinoid as a "Schedule 1" controlled substance" that has "no accepted medical use." What this means, in practice, is that anyone who uses or provides medical marijuana in strict fidelity of the terms and conditions dictated by the MMMA is still presumptively a criminal suspect.

Because of the incurable self-contradictions of the MMMA, Judge O'Connell warns, conscientious people who obey its provisions and seek marijuana for palliative care could still "lose both their property and their liberty" -- or even as the needless, government-inflicted death of Sal Agro demonstrates, their lives.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

27 comments:

William L. Anderson said...

Will,

No doubt, James Dobson would be quite happy to see this tyranny and brutality in action. The whole thing makes me utterly sick. The police in this country today are nothing more than a brutal, occupying army. Nothing more, nothing less.

liberranter said...

The police in this country today are nothing more than a brutal, occupying army. Nothing more, nothing less.

While I'm tempted to classify them as "criminal cartels," such a description would be inaccurate, as "criminal cartels" provide some good or service for which there is an actual market demand and for which people are willing to pay money. Current government "police forces," on the other hand, provide no such service under any reasonably defined criteria.

Saladin said...

Where on Earth do they recruit these sociopaths from anyway?? If there was ever an example of how broken democracy is this has got to be it. Vote all you want, your local sheriff will make up any law he wants, and you will submit peasant!

Anonymous said...

Now the question that begs asking: Out of this bunch of misfits masquerading as "keepers of the peace" - which one is Noodles?

Ayn R. Key said...

I try hard to never wish ill upon others, but I would not shed a single tear if those drug thugs got cancer.

DailyTeaParty said...

Your article has been posted. Thank you!
http://dailyteaparty.com/2010/09/22/pro-libertate-no-law-no-warrant-no-problem/

KittyAntonikWakfer said...

Without the enforcers - those with the guns and the willingness to use them and other weapons of physical force - all of the regulations/ordinances/edicts/laws/mandates/etc of any government agency/bureaucrat/executive (including the President) are just so many words. How many judges, politicians and bureaucrats do you think would actually get out in the streets and enforce those judgments they issue or regulations they create? I would venture that none would do so - they will turn that task over to the enforcers. All the words produced by legislators, judges and executives (the latter including the President) are simply so much squiggles on paper and ripples in the air without direct physical action by enforcers.

If a government enforcer of these regulations rebuffs persuasive arguments to get a truly productive job, then reduce voluntary associations, and finally to none, letting the individual know exactly why you are doing so. And let others know that you are using negative Social Preferencing with this person and will do so with any other government enforcer who persists in that role - go public on the Internet, identifying the enforcer by name, location and photograph. So let's see the photos and names of the enforcers related to this and other atrocious acts.

It takes more than online gripe sessions among those who already agree to persuade non-agreers to change their behavior. Even in the current very unfree societies (of which the US is a major one), negative Social Preferencing can be effectively used to influence individual social behavior and the actions of the State. http://selfsip.org/focus/protestsnotenough.html
It goes without saying that the sooner large numbers of people make negative (and positive) Social Preferencing part of their own behavior, the sooner the number of government enforcers will noticeably decline. And in the process, it is very likely that self-responsibility will achieve the role in human actions that is necessary for a truly liberatous society (in contrast to "libertarian" that has multiple, incomplete and often self-contradictory descriptions).

KittyAntonikWakfer said...

Without the enforcers - those with the guns and the willingness to use them and other weapons of physical force - all of the regulations/ordinances/edicts/laws/mandates/etc of any government agency/bureaucrat/executive (including the President) are just so many words. How many judges, politicians and bureaucrats do you think would actually get out in the streets and enforce those judgments they issue or regulations they create? I would venture that none would do so - they will turn that task over to the enforcers. All the words produced by legislators, judges and executives (the latter including the President) are simply so much squiggles on paper and ripples in the air without direct physical action by enforcers.

If a government enforcer of these regulations rebuffs persuasive arguments to get a truly productive job, then reduce voluntary associations, and finally to none, letting the individual know exactly why you are doing so. And let others know that you are using negative Social Preferencing with this person and will do so with any other government enforcer who persists in that role - go public on the Internet, identifying the enforcer by name, location and photograph. http://selfsip.org/focus/protestsnotenough.html
So let's see the names and photos of the enforcers related to this and other physical force initiating acts.

Matt said...

The first commenter on this Oakland Press article summarizes and provides a link for court proceedings demonstrating the depth of Bouchard's clan's corruption:

http://tinyurl.com/25qxmgn

Anonymous said...

@Saladin,

"Where on Earth do they recruit these sociopaths from anyway??" Why, from the US military, of course. They turn them into sociopathic goons through training in other countries then unleash them on us.

Anonymous said...

Kitty points out the obvious that without "muscle" that is willing to abuse people to satisfy its own ends there wouldn't even be this debate. One begets another. And as our anonymous poster makes clear, and something I've said time and again, that many of our sociopaths are the creation of the military and the further militarization of the police forces. Someone needs to give me hard data on the percentage of police who are former vets and even break it down to which branch or occupation they held while in said military. There again it might come as a surprise to find that the bulk are not or the ones committing the most egregious acts never were. Again... something to be investigated. None the less posse comitatus is and has been circumvented for a long time by the end run the Pentagon has done cleverly done providing police forces with any sort of material support or training. Any excuse they will use to justify their actions are just that... an excuse. In essence we have militaristic "Fort Apaches" sitting in every town and county with their siege mentality.

Barth Bottoms said...

Stacy Keach as Sargent Stedenko! Bwahaha Up in Smoke is classic. Where is chairman obamao and his department of justice on these marijuana raids. He was too busy admiring himself in a mirror and proclaiming himself world king. Feds will never acknowledge state's rights on this issue so they can keep raiding medical marijuana dispensaries and it is a threat to the feds power.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Does anyone remember the Marine Corps Barracks bombing in Beirut in 1982? Two hundred forty-two Marines died. Without going into who was responsible,** one must note the outcome: America withdrew from Beirut and left the Lebanese and Israelis alone to sort their business out. The simultaneous deaths of several hundreds of their armed minions forced the US Leviathan to get the hell out of other people's business.

Perhaps this history is an event worth remembering and pondering upon, in these latter days in which we live.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

- Lemuel Gulliver.

** Everyone, on all sides - there were more than 2 sides in that conflict - including Israel, wanted the US forces OUT of Lebanon, out of sight and out of mind, so that there were no eyes to see what was happening in Beirut. I have deep doubts that it was Hezbollah that carried out the attack. I strongly suspect Israel, the world's grand chessmaster of false flag operations, was the instigator, but this is a discussion for another day.

One last observation: The Israelis, the Lebanese, and the Arabs have big brass balls, and are not people to mess with, unlike we Americans, who have soft and wooly sheep's balls between our legs. I include myself - all I want is a quiet life. My balls would require a powerful microscope to be detected, so before Mr. Spock and the lurking Anonymous get on my case, do note that this is just an observation, not a judgment.

mark edward marchiafava said...

Saladin,
this is not (supposed to be) a democracy.

Fred said...

So it seems that some in the nation's local police forces want to act like an occupying army. They should be careful about this, one day they might be treated like one.

Regarding our tiny American balls. Its more a matter of what is there to lose? The Davidians in Waco thought they had much to lose and fought like hell, and won! Then they broke guerilla rule #1 and sat there until the Feds arrived in force and made an expample of them for the rest of America.

Another time when Americans grew a set was on 9-11. The passengers on flight 93 knew they were done, so they fought back. Its not those idiots at Homeland Security preventing another 9-11, its the knowledge that as soon as the hijackers get up to take over the plane the passengers will curb stomp them. The feds fear isnt of terrorists so to speak, its of American people with nothing to lose.

Anonymous said...

Over a Plant we do this?

Anonymous said...

What's keeping these people from banding together and posting armed citizenry at their locations to thwart such atrocious intrusions by the govt? Fk em! At some point they'll get tired of being shot at and shot and they'll come to their senses.

Anonymous said...

"Over a Plant we do this?" said Anonymous.

Answer: No. Not over a plant. And do be careful how you use the word "we," please. I did not do this. You may have had a tax-paying hand in it, but I did not.

No, this was done over power, over control, over who gets to claim the spoils of war and who must hand them over to the winning despoiler. Lemuel posted a link in the comments section of Will's last post that everyone really should check out. It links to an article by Murray Rothbard titled "Anatomy of the State" on LewRockwell.com. Excellent and right on the money.

If you want to know what this was really over, read that article. Everyone could use a little clarity on what government is and what it isn't; who "we" are and who "we" aren't.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Fred,

You are correct. Who thwarted the Shoe Bomber? The passengers on the plane. Who thwarted the Underwear Bomber? The passengers on the plane. (After Homeland Security let him on without a visa or even a passport, after paying cash for a 1-way ticket, and after being warned by the guy's own father that he was a dangerous nut case. Perhaps they WANTED him to blow up the plane? More Orange Days and Purple Days and Duct-tape Days.... But those pesky passengers would not let themselves die that easily. Too bad for Leviathan.)

As for the passengers on United 93, that is an interesting story. The target of that plane was the US Capitol, where Congress was in session on 9/11/2001. The US Army War College quarterly posted an article which confirmed that was the target. Had United 93 not gone down in a field in Pennsylvania, most of the House OR most of the Senate would have been killed that day, thereby allowing Dickface Cheney and George "Bonobo" Bush to declare a constitutional crisis and to rule America by decree from the White House. When asking yourself who was behind 9-11, ask yourself "Qui Bono?" - who profited or would have profited thereby? This question will go a long way to solving the mystery (so-called) of who instigated the plot.

Those brave passengers on United 93 saved our Republic and our Constitution. They are the least recognized heroes in the whole 234 years of American history.

Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I was too harsh. When we have nothing left to lose, like those passengers, and only then, our balls will become rock-hard.

- Lemuel.

BTW, here again is the link to the article "Anatomy of the State" which Anonymous has endorsed as being recommended reading for all of us:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard62.html

99 said...

OT -- sorry. I don't seem to be finding an email... but am very tired. It strikes me, Will, that you would want to see this brilliant piece by David DeGraw. It's long and sourced to the skies and important and only the first of another series.

We all need to see it.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

99,

Thanks for that incredible link. I have bookmarked it. Some deluded sheeple will dismiss it, but I think everyone should read it. One of the great essays of our time. Thank you.

Lemuel Gulliver

Anonymous said...

""Where on Earth do they recruit these sociopaths from anyway??" Why, from the US military, of course."

No, no, they get them from the school systems, both bullies and wanna-be bullies are the source. The military just enhances a portion of them.

99 said...

Oh, bless you. I'm on fire for all of us to get on the same page... that one. It's the truth. The kid knows his stuff and he should be getting SERIOUS play from everyone with a forum for passing on information.

xoxoxox

Anonymous said...

I hate to bring this up in the comments section of Will's essay since it's such a "thread hijack", but does anyone really believe the malarkey about the Flight 93 passengers heroically commandeering the plane and forcing it to crash in Pennsylvania? The entire official story of what happened on 9/11 reeks like week old fish, and that includes the ridiculous part about the passengers on Flight 93. They saved nothing. Not the Constitution, not our Republic and not even their own lives.

JohnS said...

Will, you may want to check your microphone connections. You've had a static crackle when you're talking on the radio show for 2 weeks now.

I'm guessing you don't listen to the show after it's uploaded, so I thought I'd mention it (I'd tell ya if you left your fly open, too...). Other than that, great show man! I always enjoy it, and usually learn something as well. Keep it up.

JohnS

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous about Flight 93: I don't believe it, either. In fact, judging from the fly-over footage, there wasn't even a passenger plane involved. Like at the Pentagon, there was no fuselage, no bodies, no luggage, no seats, no engines, no nothing. Just a smoking trench and a few pieces of whatever laying around here and there. What the ....??

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to think there's just no way to convince people to consider their goberment and it's agents are anything but kind, merciful, loving masters who can do no wrong.

Like dogs, even after they've been kicked hard by their masters, still come at their masters call, it takes repeated and severe abuse over a long period of time to change their conditioning, sometimes not even then.

Take for example, Ferfal. He seems like he gets it, and he says he supports R.P. and wants to be an American, but after linking to your blog articles many times his stance is still the same, he will allow no cop or military bashing on his blog, often not even the slightest hint or attempt to discuss the issue from another perspective.

This part of his mindset is something I just don't understand.

How is comparing cops to the mafia considered to be bashing unworthy of discussion?

I sent him a link to Karen Kwiatkowski's article, Contempt of State – An Indispensable Virtue

http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski252.html

I hope it causes him to reconsider, but I have my doubts. I think perhaps I've wasted a great deal of time on his websites attempting to convince people of the benefits of liberty, I think I failed.

Here's his blog entry where he displays his respect for the shock troops of the Imperial Empire, if you're so inclined to read it,

http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2010/09/comments-policy.html

I guess that was my foreign entanglement I should have avoided.

- You can call me Clark this time.