熱 天 氣 Warm Weather

Drug War Stories

Medical Marijuana

  The "Drug War" is a war on the American People, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

The "Drug War" is also a jobs program for cops which gives them a large number of people which they can easily arrest at almost no risk to themselves.

Pima County "drug war" cops murder wrong guy in raid


Killing by SWAT team in Tucson raises questions

by Sean Holstege and Robert Anglen - May. 28, 2011 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

TUCSON - It was a Thursday morning in a comfortable Tucson neighborhood. Vanessa Guerena was making breakfast. One of her young boys was at school. The other, age 4, was waking up. He wanted to watch "The Transformers" on television.

Outside, an armored car was rolling up Redwater Drive. SWAT team members in black helmets and armor poured out. A siren wailed. Thirty seconds later, officers bashed down the front door. Within seconds, the popping of gunfire rang out.

Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine who had served in Iraq, was later found dead, lying face down in his blood on the floor.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department, which coordinated the raid, initially reported that Guerena had fired his rifle at officers. Authorities would say they shot him 60 times, with 71 rounds fired. That was on May 5.

Two weeks later, the department corrected its statement. Guerena had not fired at officers, it said. An assault rifle was found nearby but was unfired, its safety on.

Since then, questions have turned to doubts, and doubts to outrage as the incident has garnered national attention.

Sheriff's officials and an attorney representing the officers defend the operation.

Even if the weapon was unfired, SWAT team members reported that Guerena raised it, pointed it at officers and yelled, "I've got something for you guys!" attorney Mike Storie said. "(It was) clearly a justified shooting." New information

On Thursday, new information emerged when the Sheriff's Department released about 500 pages of search-warrant records, statements, videos and dispatch tapes.

The records detail how officers swooped in to four houses, including Guerena's, as part of an investigation authorities said was linked to drug trafficking, murder and home invasions.

From Guerena's house, they seized weapons, a box full of body armor and a U.S. Border Patrol cap.

From his brother's house nearby, they found $101,000 in cash hidden in a shoe box and a box full of cellphones.

The sweep also netted radio equipment, chargers, scanners and other tools commonly used in smuggling. Plus, a silver-plated .38-caliber handgun known as a Super 38, a status weapon for Mexican drug traffickers, according to investigators' statements released under a public-records request.

Guerena's wife, Vanessa, who was in the house during the raid, knew nothing about the evidence, she said. After the gunfire, she asked the question that's tormented her and troubled the community: "Why did they do this? Why?" she asked investigators, the agency's records show.

Guerena had no record of violent crime. He worked the graveyard shift at an Asarco mine.

Family members and commentators asked: Why did officers storm the house, especially with a young boy inside? Why fire so many shots? Why did the Sheriff's Department first claim Guerena fired at them when, as it turned out, his AR-15 rifle was safety-latched? 'A little skeptical'

"I was a little skeptical at first, but everything I found was very disturbing," said Ray Epps, president of the Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers, an organization made up of active and retired military and law-enforcement officials that has planned a Memorial Day march to Guerena's home.

"This case is a perfect example of what goes wrong with these kinds of entries," Epps said. "An innocent man died. It should not happen in this country."

On Friday, signs of the drama and the aftermath were on display in the quiet subdivision in the southwestern corner of town.

Nearly a dozen bullet holes peppered a stucco wall at the back of the Guerenas' one-story house. In the window was a picture of Jose Guerena in his full-dress uniform; near the garage are signs with condolences and messages such as "war hero" and "police abuse victim."

Across the narrow residential street, Barbara Crabtree said she watched the whole thing unfold on May 5. "We were in the front room," she said. "We heard a bang and looked up and saw white mist coming from the back yard. Then, we heard shooting. It scared us."

Crabtree said she never saw anything unusual at the house, which the young family had moved into in December. But another neighbor told a different story.

"There were always cars and trucks driving through here. Throughout the day and night, coming and going," said David Franco, whose house faces the Guerenas'.

Neighbors described it as a peaceful street.

That peace was shattered when SWAT team members busted open the door that morning and tossed "flash-bang" grenades inside, documents show. Seconds later, bullets started flying through the house, sending splinters and stucco chips through the air. Deputies withdrew. Others who hadn't entered crouched outside, covering the exits, thinking they were being shot at. One of them was sheriff's Deputy William Fosmire.

He told a detective that day, "We were briefed before that the muscle of the DTO (drug-trafficking organization) was at this house."

Several SWAT team members reported later that they saw muzzle flashes and heard shots coming from the hall where Guerena reportedly was crouching.

After the shooting subsided, Vanessa said she crept out of hiding from inside a closet with her son, who was still wearing Spider-Man pajamas. She tried to talk to her husband and frantically called 911.

It would be an hour later that deputies told her he was dead. They had waited to send in a remote-controlled robot to secure the scene.

Vanessa said she didn't know why her husband had an assault rifle. She told deputies that she'd never seen any guns in the house and that they would find nothing illegal - no drugs, no piles of hidden cash.

After initial reports on the raid, the department stopped releasing more information as the investigation continued. The department scolded the media in a May 18 news release, saying, "It is understandable that questions are asked about when more information will become available. However, it is unacceptable and irresponsible to couch those questions with implications of secrecy and a cover-up."

Criticism and questions continued to mount, and news media filed public-records requests. Vanessa gave interviews decrying the operation.

A video released late Thursday was filmed from inside the armored vehicle. With music playing, officers pulled up to the house, quickly gathered at the front door as the siren was blown and, according to records, called out "Police" in English and Spanish. One officer pounded on the door, and then it was busted open.

Whatever the outcome of the ongoing investigation, Vanessa Guerena is left to raise two young boys alone and mourn a man she dated at 16 and knew since childhood.

"My son came out running and saw his dad. That is the impression that a 4-year-old boy has, sir," she told investigators in her driveway that day. "I don't know if you understand how much it hurts me that my son came out saying, 'Mom, why is my dad laying (there)?' "

Later, she said of her husband, "I don't have him.

"I no longer want anything. I no longer want anything."

This is just a lame excuse by Governor Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne, Health Director Will Humble and the head of the Arizona DPS to get Arizona's medical marijuana laws thrown out.

The people of Arizona approved medical marijuana knowing that it would still be illegal at the Federal level.

On the other hand many Libertarian freedom fighters will tell you that all the drug wars at the Federal level are unconstitutional per the 9th and 10th Amendments and unconstitutional at the state lever per the 14th Amendment.

Arizona to sue over medical-marijuana law


Arizona to sue over medical-marijuana law

by Mary K. Reinhart - May. 27, 2011 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

Arizona will ask a federal court Friday to clarify whether its voter-approved medical-marijuana law conflicts with federal drug statutes, launching what probably will be a lengthy legal battle that could cripple the state's fledging industry and spark more legal action.

Gov. Jan Brewer also will put a temporary halt to the state's permit process for marijuana dispensaries, set to begin Wednesday, with an executive order issued by Tuesday, her office said. She does not plan to stop issuance of medical-marijuana user-ID cards.

The motion for declaratory judgment, to be filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, pits Brewer and two state agency directors against voters and patients who supported Proposition 203, as well as potential dispensary owners who could face federal prosecution.

It also names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke as defendants, and will argue that their policies have spawned uncertainty and confusion.

Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne say the suit was prompted by a May 2 letter from Burke to state Health Director Will Humble, warning that prospective pot growers and sellers could be prosecuted under federal drug-trafficking laws.

Arizona and 15 other states have medical-marijuana laws that conflict with federal law, which outlaws the cultivation, sale or use of marijuana.

Although Burke said his office would not go after people who use medical marijuana "in clear and unambiguous compliance" with state law, Horne and Brewer maintain that his letter, along with a raft of memos from federal prosecutors in other states, signaled a harder-line policy and the threat that state workers could be prosecuted.

"This is obviously a change in policy," Horne said. "We are not taking a position against the will of the voters. We are simply bringing it to court and asking the court to decide."

Burke said there has been no policy change, and he chided Horne and Brewer for having a news conference earlier this week to announce a lawsuit they hadn't yet filed. He said it's unclear what they are expecting a federal judge to decide, since the laws are in clear conflict.

"They're a moving target," Burke said. "I'm not really sure what it's about. I don't know how to add it up."

He said his office will continue to enforce federal drug laws, focusing its efforts on major trafficking cases and drug cartels.

"We have no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law," Burke said. "But at the same time, they can't be under the impression that they have immunity, amnesty or safe haven."

Brewer said this week that she was particularly concerned about state employees, including those processing patient-ID cards and state law officers who may be asked to overlook a federal crime under state law.

Both the Departments of Health Services and Public Safety are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

But Burke's two-page letter made no mention of Arizona employees, who have been processing ID cards for thousands of medical-marijuana users since mid-April and are preparing to license dispensaries and cultivation sites this summer. And he said Thursday he has no intention of prosecuting them.

Attorney Lisa Hauser, who authored the state's medical-marijuana law and represents potential dispensary owners, said Brewer and Horne both opposed Proposition 203 and likely have another motive.

"They can say what they want, but it does appear intended to thwart the will of the voters," Hauser said. "They don't want to take a position because they don't want to upset the voters."

The lawsuit will ask the court to decide whether compliance with Arizona's law provides a shield from federal prosecution and whether the state law is enforceable since it conflicts with federal law.

While the legal wrangling continues, among the impacts:

- No permits, no dispensaries, more lawsuits.

Potential dispensary owners who had lined up leases, municipal zoning and medical directors in anticipation of the June 1 application opening will have to bide their time. It could be awhile.

Several are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, with the motion arguing that their investments are at risk amid the legal uncertainties.

Attorneys say their clients knew the legal landscape going in but still pulled together investors and persuaded cities and landlords to approve their non-profit enterprises.

Under state rules, the Health Department would accept applications through June and issue up to 126 permits by August.

Prop. 203 allows for lawsuits in Superior Court if the state fails to implement the law, and Brewer's plan to put the permit process on hold is likely to spark a few.

"We have several clients who are ready to apply, and they're waiting to hear whether they're on hold or not," attorney Ryan Hurley said. "They've invested a lot of money in reliance on this."

- Patients keep growing their own plants.

Prop. 203, approved by voters in November, legalized medical-marijuana use for people with certain debilitating conditions and allowed them to designate someone as a "caregiver" to grow or otherwise obtain marijuana for them.

Both patients and caregivers are authorized to grow 12 plants per patient if the patients live more than 25 miles from a dispensary. Since there are not yet any licensed dispensary licenses, caregivers and patients are allowed to grow their own. The state has licensed nearly 2,700 growers so far.

There is no limit to how much a dispensary can grow, and some advocates argue that a few large-scale cultivation sites would be easier to oversee and regulate than hundreds or thousands of backyard operations.

For now, at least, the growing will be small-scale and widespread.

"All (Brewer is) doing is throwing the whole system into chaos," said Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national pro-legalization group that backed Arizona's law. "She's making sure that cultivation is statewide."

- Dispensaries might give up.

Potential dispensary owners have put together fragile, time-sensitive deals. Leases and special-use permits expire, and financing can fall through.

Among other things, state rules require that a dispensary applicant have access to at least $150,000 in startup capital.

"Maybe they hope that after months and months of delays, everybody will just go away," Hauser said.

They might.

Randy Brown had hoped to apply for a dispensary license, but he lost his funding this month as fear and confusion mounted over their legal liabilities.

"What this has done is cause people who would otherwise be financiers to freak out and pull out," Brown said. "This is probably going to be a show-stopper."

Arizona medical-pot dispensaries put on hold

If you voted to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona you have been named as a defendant in this lawsuit - "The lawsuit ... names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke as defendants, along with voters who supported the ballot measure, patients and would-be dispensary owners." - Hmmm I wonder how they are planning to serve 693,126+ people who voted for Prop 203?

Of course the real news is that government tyrants Health Services Director Will Humble, Governor Jan Brewer, DPS Director Robert Halliday and Attorney General Tom Horne is just a lame excuse to shut down Arizona's medical marijuana program.

If you ask I am certain the founders created the Second Amendment to be used for government tyrants like these people who think they are royal rulers instead of the public servants the claim to be.


Arizona medical-pot dispensaries put on hold

by Mary K. Reinhart - May. 27, 2011 07:24 PM

The Arizona Republic

Arizona's health director put medical-marijuana dispensaries on hold just days before he was to begin accepting applications, citing the lawsuit filed by the state in federal court Friday to determine whether the new law conflicts with federal drug statutes.

State Department of Health Services Director Will Humble is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, along with Gov. Jan Brewer and state Department of Public Safety Director Robert Halliday. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment as to whether compliance with Arizona's voter-approved medical pot law shields state employees, patients, dispensary owners and others from federal prosecution.

Brewer's office had said the governor would issue an executive order to halt the dispensary permit process, set to begin Wednesday. But Humble said on his weekly blog and on Twitter that the state Attorney General's Office had advised him not to accept applications while the legal questions are pending.

"Whether we will accept and process dispensary applications at a later date will depend on the outcome of the legal action," Humble wrote.

The state will continue to issue medical-marijuana user-ID cards.

There likely will be more legal action, as attorneys for potential dispensary owners have indicated they will sue.

Proposition 203, approved by voters in November, allows for lawsuits in Superior Court if the state fails to implement the law.

"I don't know if it will happen Wednesday, but it will happen," said attorney Ryan Hurley, whose firm represents more than a dozen potential dispensary applicants and at least two defendants.

The lawsuit, filed late Friday by Attorney General Tom Horne, names U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke as defendants, along with voters who supported the ballot measure, patients and would-be dispensary owners.

It contends that letters sent over the past several months by federal prosecutors have cast doubt on the legality of Arizona's law and the liability of state employees and others who abide by it. Arizona is among 16 states with medical-marijuana laws, and all of them conflict with federal law, which outlaws the cultivation, sale and use of pot.

"Failure to faithfully implement the (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) exposes plaintiffs to legal action," the lawsuit says. "The actions of these government defendants serve to undermine efforts of the plaintiffs to implement state law in accordance with the will of the people of the state of Arizona."

Burke has said there is no change in the long-held federal policy of not going after people who use medical marijuana in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with state laws. But he and other federal prosecutors also have reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The case puts Arizona in the spotlight, attorneys say, because every state that has a medical-pot law or is contemplating such a law struggles with the same state-federal conflict. The national ACLU has signed on to represent one of the defendants, arguing that the Controlled Substances Act allows flexibility for states to adopt their own drug laws, and three appellate cases in California back that argument.

Law Suit tailored to kill Arizona medical marijuana law


Medical marijuana supporters: Suit tailored to kill law

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 5:17 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Backers of medical marijuana charge that a federal lawsuit filed late Friday is designed let the governor and the attorney general do in court what they could not convince voters to do: keep the use of the drug illegal in Arizona.

Richard Keyt, an attorney who helps companies set up dispensaries, said the lawsuit is worded in a way that the judge can reach only one conclusion: the federal Controlled Substances Act trumps the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. And Keyt said states cannot change federal law.

Ryan Hurley, who also represents would-be dispensary owners, said if a federal judge agrees to hear the case - something that is far from a certainty - there is really no way he or she can rule that Arizonans are free to ignore the federal statutes making possession, sale and transportation of marijuana a felony.

"The best case scenario we get out of the lawsuit is status quo," he said. "We're never going to get a decision that says federal law cannot be enforced in Arizona. That will never happen."

And Paula Pennypacker, one of the individuals whom Attorney General Tom Horne named in the lawsuit as interested in defending the state law, called it an attempt by "the far right" to ignore the will of the voters. "And I'm a Republican," she added, like Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer who directed the lawsuit to be filed.

What makes the litigation significant for the future of medical marijuana is the way Horne phrased the question for the court.

He has given the judge two choices: declare that the Arizona law complies with federal law and should be implemented, or rule that "should be declared preempted in whole or in part because of an irreconcilable conflict with federal law." A finding of the latter would give Brewer the justification to stop the Department of Health Services from implementing the law.

That means no more state-issued cards for those who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana beyond the approximately 4,000 that have been issued. It also means no state-regulated cultivation sites to grow the drugs or dispensaries to sell them.

Brewer already has ordered Will Humble, her health director, not to license either the growers or the sellers while the lawsuit is pending.

But the governor is continuing to let state workers issue cards to "qualified patients." Press aide Matthew Benson said the alternative is to trigger a provision of the law which says the failure of the state to process a completed application within 45 days means it is presumed to have been approved.

Horne denied that the wording of the lawsuit is designed to get a pre-determined result of a federal judge ruling that federal law supersedes state statute. But he said it doesn't matter, even if his legal papers are worded that way.

He pointed out the state is suing not only officials at the U.S. Department of Justice but also several groups and individuals who have an interest in preserving the Arizona law as voters approved in November.

"They will file cross-claims against each other," Horne said, pitting the defenders of the law against the federal government. "When they do that, the people who support the initiative will put it in language they think is best designed to have the court declare that we can proceed with the initiative without being arrested by the federal government."

But Horne said that, at the governor's direction, he will not be defending what voters approved. [Hmmm So Horne doesn't represent the PEOPLE of Arizona, he represents the ROYAL RULERS of Arizona]

"The governor decided, and I agree, we should take a neutral position," he said. Horne said all the state wants is a clear ruling on whether it can proceed to implement the law. [Neutral position my ass! The royal rulers of Arizona who are filing this lawsuit are doing it for only one reason, to kill Arizona's medical marijuana law]

That presumes, though, a federal judge will opt to weigh in.

"I think that there's a significant potential that the lawsuit will be dismissed," said Hurley. He said courts generally do not like to rule on what are essentially academic issues.

It would be different, Hurley said, if someone charged with violating the federal law claimed immunity because of the state statute. At that point, he said, a judge would have to rule whether that claim is legitimate.

If calls and e-mails to the governor's office are any indication, Arizonans are decidedly against the decision by Brewer and Horne to go to court: In less than two days since announcing the action, there were 12 message in support and 208 opposed.

Horne acknowledged that both he and the governor opposed Proposition 203 which allows those who have a doctor's recommendation to purchase up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a state-regulated dispensary. But he said the decision to force the issue in federal court despite the lack of anyone being prosecuted in Arizona has nothing to do with that.

"I also have a very strong record of defending the idea that we should respect the will of the voters," he said. [That is 100 percent bull sh*t!]

Horne was a legislator in 1997, the year after voters first approved a law allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana. Prosecutors asked lawmakers to amend the law, adding a provision to allow it to take effect only if the Drug Enforcement Administration decided marijuana had a legitimate medical use.

"Even though I opposed the (1996) initiative, I also opposed the conditional enactment effort to thwart it on the grounds that we should respect the will of the voters," he said.

Horne also said the state was pursuing plans to implement the law, at least until earlier this month when Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, sent a letter to Humble outlining the position of his office on the issue of the state law.

Burke said federal prosecutors have no interest in spending time going after those who use marijuana in accordance with state laws. But he also said that "even clear and unambiguous compliance with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act does not render possession or distribution of marijuana lawful under federal statute."

Horne said this is a change in stance from a 2009 memo issued by David Ogden, a deputy U.S. attorney general.

Burke, however, said there is nothing different about what he wrote earlier this month. In fact, Ogden, in spelling out he was not saying anyone can use state law as a shield against prosecution, wrote, "nor does clear and unambiguous compliance with state law or the absence of one or all of the above factors create a legal defense to a violation of the Controlled Substances Act."

D.A.R.E - A jobs program for overpaid cops

How many people have you heard praising how wonderful DARE is other then cops. For me I don't recall every hearing anyone other then cops and government workers praising DARE.

I am sure Dave Parsons loves DARE, not because it has helped the people of Arizona, but because it has given him a very well paying job for the last 21 years. DARE along with the "drug war" is just a jobs program for overpaid cops!

And DARE along with the "Drug War" is nothing more then a war on the American people, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.


Letters: D.A.R.E. has repeatedly proved its worth

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2011 5:15 am

Letter to the editor East Valley Tribune

I have been involved with D.A.R.E. for 21 years. I have seen the positive effects that D.A.R.E. has had on our children. I have had hundreds of students come up to me over the years and tell me they refused a drug offer using one of the refusal skills taught to them by their D.A.R.E. officer.

There are over 14 studies that have been conducted on the D.A.R.E. program. All of them speak to the effectiveness of D.A.R.E. The program was written to teach student to make better decisions. It is meant to supplement what should be taught at home. It was never intended to be a cure-all for the deep social problems of drugs and violence.

D.A.R.E. is a proactive prevention program. It teaches students decision-making skills. Elementary D.A.R.E. is a 10-week program taught to fifth or sixth graders. It teaches students about consequences, peer-pressure, ways to say no to offers, assertiveness, violence, media influences, decision making, gangs, internet safety, over the counter/prescription drug abuse, bullying and more. Yes, parents at home should teach these skills, but in reality we all know that this is not always the case. Therefore, it has to be taught somewhere, somehow, by someone. Who better than a professional police officer, teaching in the classroom, equipped with the most effective prevention curriculum on the market today: “D.A.R.E.”.

With the new Medical Marijuana Act taking effect, we need to be even more diligent with our prevention efforts.

Instead of looking for programs to cut to save a dollar, let’s embrace the efforts being put forth by our D.A.R.E. officers. Just imagine what our great cities might be like if D.A.R.E. hadn’t been around for the last 21 years.

Dave Parsons

Arizona D.A.R.E. coordinator

Brewer quick to ignore will of people when it serves her

Source Brewer quick to ignore will of people when it serves her

Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 4:00 am

Tribune editorial East Valley Tribune

Will the real Jan Brewer please stand up?

The governor has come far since she made her name globally by signing Arizona's divisive immigration law. Criticized at first for riding SB 1070's coattails into office for a full term as governor, she earned our respect for supporting the Proposition 100 temporary sales tax increase for education funding, and standing up to the more radical local elements of the Republican Party.

But she's also made a name for herself with partisan squawking and knee-jerk reactions to slights, both real and perceived, from Washington. Now it's getting out of hand - and it's getting old.

Brewer has ordered Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne to seek a federal judge's ruling on the legality of the state's own medical marijuana law, which voters approved in November. She says it's because a memo from the federal prosecutor assigned to Arizona points out the drug's sale and use remains illegal under federal law, which she interprets to be a threat to the state employees charged with carrying out the law.

But U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke's letter never mentioned state workers, and in an interview with Capitol Media Services reporter Howard Fischer described the lawsuit and the press conference held by Brewer and Horne as political grandstanding.

"I believe in the will of the people,'' said Brewer, who personally opposed Proposition 203 in November. "Unfortunately, with this piece of legislation, there are some pretty serious consequences if we don't get them resolved. And I, as governor, am not willing to put those people at risk.''

Horne, for his part, said this is different from his fight with the feds over SB 1070 because the goals of the state and federal statutes are in clear conflict in this case, making it inappropriate for him to defend it as vigorously.

Even Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is involved, advising county leaders to halt the permitting process until the matter is cleared up.

All of this appears to be based on a distortion - mistaken or willful - of the risk of federal prosecution.

Call us cynical, but could the real issue here be that medical marijuana is simply less popular with the Republican officials' base than the immigration crackdown?

Prop. 203 was the third time Arizona residents have said at the ballot box that they want a legal way for the very ill to have access to medical marijuana. Perhaps one problem is the governor is looking at the matter as, in her own word, "legislation," rather than the initiative of voters to amend state law. Initiatives are one of the cornerstones of Arizona politics, a defining element of our independent Western nature that venerates public sovereignty. And the actions of Arizona lawmakers and governors have long displayed an utter disdain for this power of the people.

Medical marijuana is no panacea, and it's not without its problems - ask our neighbors in California and Colorado about that. But the people have spoken, and Brewer and Horne - who are so quick to hiss at Washington when they feel oppressed by the feds - should be defending the will of the voters of this state, while at the same time properly educating themselves on its ramifications. It's their job.

Our top state officials have gone from thumbing their noses at the federal government every chance they get to inexplicably thumbing their noses, instead, at us.

We Grow Medical Marijuana Store to open Wed, June 1, 2011

The Arizona Republic ran a tiny article saying this medical marijuana store would open Wed, June 1, 2011.

I couldn't find the article on the Republic's website, but here is some info from the store web page about their opening this Wed.


2937 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona


weGrow Phoenix: The Green Rush - Free & Open to the Public

Don't miss the grand opening festival of the 21,000 square-foot medical marijuana superstore that has everyone talking!

weGrow, the first honest hydro store, is coming to Phoenix on Wednesday, June 1 with a huge grand opening festival called weGrow Phoenix: The Green Rush.

When: Wednesday, June 1, 2011:

  • Press Conference - 4:30 pm
  • Grand Opening with Phoenix Chamber of Commerce - 5:30 pm
  • Public Festival - 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Where: The brand new weGrow store - 29th Ave & Thomas Road in Phoenix

Join us for live entertainment, explore Arizona's largest hydroponics store, check out booths from supporting businesses and learn about medical marijuana cultivation. Plus, we'll be giving away premium hydroponics equipment - you can't miss it!

Press Conference Speakers:

  • Dhar Mann, weGrow Founder
  • Richard Keyt, Keyt Law
  • Aaron Smith, Founder of the National Cannabis Industry Association
  • Al Sobol, Seed2Success

Get more information online on Facebook or Twitter , or call 602.820.8653.

Interested in marketing your business or brand to the medical marijuana industry and supporters? Booth sponsorships are available for The Green Rush festival on June 1! For more information, please contact:

Alexis Krisay


Think the FBI is spying on you?

Think the FBI is spying on you? Yea sure, you're paranoid, but you're probably right!

Doesn't matter if you are a Libertarian, Green, Commie, Anarchist, Gun Rights activist, anti-war protester, atheist, White Supremacist, Black Supremacist, religious fanatic, or an advocate of legalizing drugs. If you don't like the current governments policies and you are vocal about it, there is a good chance government thugs from the FBI, state police department, county sheriff's office, or local city cops are spying on you.

In addition to helping our royal government masters get rid of their enemies it's also a jobs program for overpaid and under worked cops.

And if you get this in an email, it's almost certain that some government nanny who works for the FBI, Homeland Security, or local cops will read it before you do.


For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target


Published: May 28, 2011

AUSTIN, Tex. — A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

“The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.”

Actually, the item in question was more mundane.

“It was a quilt,” said Scott Crow, marveling over the papers at the dining table of his ramshackle home, where he lives with his wife, a housemate and a backyard menagerie that includes two goats, a dozen chickens and a turkey. “For a kids’ after-school program.”

Mr. Crow, 44, a self-described anarchist and veteran organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists across the country known to have come under scrutiny from the F.B.I.’s increased counterterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Other targets of bureau surveillance, which has been criticized by civil liberties groups and mildly faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general, have included antiwar activists in Pittsburgh, animal rights advocates in Virginia and liberal Roman Catholics in Nebraska. When such investigations produce no criminal charges, their methods rarely come to light publicly.

But Mr. Crow, a lanky Texas native who works at a recycling center, is one of several Austin activists who asked the F.B.I. for their files, citing the Freedom of Information Act. The 440 heavily-redacted pages he received, many bearing the rubric “Domestic Terrorism,” provide a revealing window on the efforts of the bureau, backed by other federal, state and local police agencies, to keep an eye on people it deems dangerous.

In the case of Mr. Crow, who has been arrested a dozen times during demonstrations but has never been convicted of anything more serious than trespassing, the bureau wielded an impressive array of tools, the documents show.

The agents watched from their cars for hours at a time — Mr. Crow recalls one regular as “a fat guy in an S.U.V. with the engine running and the air-conditioning on” — and watched gatherings at a bookstore and cafe. For round-the-clock coverage, they attached a video camera to the phone pole across from his house on New York Avenue.

They tracked Mr. Crow’s phone calls and e-mails and combed through his trash, identifying his bank and mortgage companies, which appear to have been served with subpoenas. They visited gun stores where he shopped for a rifle, noting dryly in one document that a vegan animal rights advocate like Mr. Crow made an unlikely hunter. (He says the weapon was for self-defense in a marginal neighborhood.)

They asked the Internal Revenue Service to examine his tax returns, but backed off after an I.R.S. employee suggested that Mr. Crow’s modest earnings would not impress a jury even if his returns were flawed. (He earns $32,000 a year at Ecology Action of Texas, he said.)

They infiltrated political meetings with undercover police officers and informers. Mr. Crow counts five supposed fellow activists who were reporting to the F.B.I.

Mr. Crow seems alternately astonished, angered and flattered by the government’s attention. “I’ve had times of intense paranoia,” he said, especially when he discovered that some trusted allies were actually spies.

“But first, it makes me laugh,” he said. “It’s just a big farce that the government’s created such paper tigers. Al Qaeda and real terrorists are hard to find. We’re easy to find. It’s outrageous that they would spend so much money surveilling civil activists, and anarchists in particular, and equating our actions with Al Qaeda.”

The investigation of political activists is an old story for the F.B.I., most infamously in the Cointel program, which scrutinized and sometimes harassed civil rights and antiwar advocates from the 1950s to the 1970s. Such activities were reined in after they were exposed by the Senate’s Church Committee, and F.B.I. surveillance has been governed by an evolving set of guidelines set by attorneys general since 1976.

But the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 demonstrated the lethal danger of domestic terrorism, and after the Sept. 11 attacks, the F.B.I. vowed never again to overlook terrorists hiding in plain sight. The Qaeda sleeper cells many Americans feared, though, turned out to be rare or nonexistent.

The result, said Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent now at the American Civil Liberties Union, has been a zeal to investigate political activists who pose no realistic threat of terrorism.

“You have a bunch of guys and women all over the country sent out to find terrorism. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of terrorism in many communities,” Mr. German said. “So they end up pursuing people who are critical of the government.”

Complaints from the A.C.L.U. prompted the Justice Department’s inspector general to assess the F.B.I.’s forays into domestic surveillance. The resulting report last September absolved the bureau of investigating dissenters based purely on their expression of political views. But the inspector general also found skimpy justification for some investigations, uncertainty about whether any federal crime was even plausible in others and a mislabeling of nonviolent civil disobedience as “terrorism.”

Asked about the surveillance of Mr. Crow, an F.B.I. spokesman, Paul E. Bresson, said it would be “inappropriate” to discuss an individual case. But he said that investigations are conducted only after the bureau receives information about possible crimes.

“We do not open investigations based on individuals who exercise the rights afforded to them under the First Amendment,” Mr. Bresson said. “In fact, the Department of Justice and the bureau’s own guidelines for conducting domestic operations strictly forbid such actions.”

It is not hard to understand why Mr. Crow attracted the bureau’s attention. He has deliberately confronted skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members at their gatherings, relishing the resulting scuffles. He claims to have forced corporate executives to move with noisy nighttime protests.

He says he took particular pleasure in a 2003 demonstration for Greenpeace in which activists stormed the headquarters of ExxonMobil in Irving, Tex., to protest its environmental record. Dressed in tiger outfits, protesters carried banners to the roof of the company’s offices, while others wearing business suits arrived in chauffeured Jaguars, forcing frustrated police officers to sort real executives from faux ones.

“It was super fun,” said Mr. Crow, one of the suits, who escaped while 36 other protesters were arrested. “They had ignored us and ignored us. But that one got their attention.”

It got the attention of the F.B.I. as well, evidently, leading to the three-year investigation that focused specifically on Mr. Crow. The surveillance documents show that he also turned up in several other investigations of activism in Texas and beyond, from 2001 to at least 2008.

For an aficionado of civil disobedience, Mr. Crow comes across as more amiable than combative. He dropped out of college, toured with an electronic-rock band and ran a successful Dallas antiques business while dabbling in animal rights advocacy. In 2001, captivated by the philosophy of anarchism, he sold his share of the business and decided to become a full-time activist.

Since then, he has led a half-dozen groups and run an annual training camp for protesters. (The camps invariably attracted police infiltrators who were often not hard to spot. “We had a rule,” he said. “If you were burly, you didn’t belong.”) He also helped to found Common Ground Relief, a network of nonprofit organizations created in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Anarchism was the catchword for an international terrorist movement at the turn of the 20th century. But Mr. Crow, whose e-mail address contains the phrase “quixotic dreaming,” describes anarchism as a kind of locally oriented self-help movement, a variety of “social libertarianism.”

“I don’t like the state,” he said. “I don’t want to overthrow it, but I want to create alternatives to it.”

This kind of talk appears to have baffled some of the agents assigned to watch him, whose reports to F.B.I. bosses occasionally seem petulant. One agent calls “nonviolent direct action,” a phrase in activists’ materials, “an oxymoron.” Another agent comments, oddly, on Mr. Crow and his wife, Ann Harkness, who have been together for 24 years, writing that “outwardly they did not appear to look right for each other.” At a training session, “most attendees dressed like hippies.”

Such comments stand out amid detailed accounts of the banal: mail in the recycling bin included “a number of catalogs from retail outlets such as Neiman Marcus, Ann Taylor and Pottery Barn.”

Mr. Crow said he hoped the airing of such F.B.I. busywork might deter further efforts to keep watch over him. The last documents he has seen mentioning him date from 2008. But the Freedom of Information Act exempts from disclosure any investigations that are still open.

“I still occasionally see people sitting in cars across the street,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve given up.”


F.B.I. Casts Wide Net Under Relaxed Rules for Terror Inquiries, Data Show


Published: March 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — Within months after the Bush administration relaxed limits on domestic-intelligence gathering in late 2008, the F.B.I. assessed thousands of people and groups in search of evidence that they might be criminals or terrorists, a newly disclosed Justice Department document shows.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has not changed policies on F.B.I. investigation rules that were relaxed by the Bush administration in 2008.

John Ashcroft, an attorney general in the Bush administration, loosened F.B.I. rules after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a vast majority of those cases, F.B.I. agents did not find suspicious information that could justify more intensive investigations. The New York Times obtained the data, which the F.B.I. had tried to keep secret, after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

The document, which covers the four months from December 2008 to March 2009, says the F.B.I. initiated 11,667 “assessments” of people and groups. Of those, 8,605 were completed. And based on the information developed in those low-level inquiries, agents opened 427 more intensive investigations, it says.

The statistics shed new light on the F.B.I.’s activities in the post-Sept. 11 era, as the bureau’s focus has shifted from investigating crimes to trying to detect and disrupt potential criminal and terrorist activity.

It is not clear, though, whether any charges resulted from the inquiries. And because the F.B.I. provided no comparable figures for a period before the rules change, it is impossible to determine whether the numbers represent an increase in investigations.

Still, privacy advocates contend that the large number of assessments that turned up no sign of wrongdoing show that the rules adopted by the Bush administration have created too low a threshold for starting an inquiry. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has left those rules in place.

Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the volume of fruitless assessments showed that the Obama administration should tighten the rules.

“These are investigations against completely innocent people that are now bound up within the F.B.I.’s intelligence system forever,” Mr. German said. “Is that the best way for the F.B.I. to use its resources?”

But Valerie E. Caproni, the bureau’s general counsel, said the numbers showed that agents were running down any hint of a potential problem — including vigilantly checking out potential leads that might have been ignored before the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Recognize that the F.B.I.’s policy — that I think the American people would support — is that any terrorism lead has to be followed up,” Ms. Caproni said. “That means, on a practical level, that things that 10 years ago might just have been ignored now have to be followed up.”

F.B.I. investigations are controlled by guidelines first put in place by Attorney General Edward H. Levi during the Ford administration, after the disclosure that the bureau had engaged in illegal domestic spying for decades. After the Sept. 11 attacks, those rules were loosened by Attorney General John Ashcroft and then again by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

Some Democrats and civil liberties groups protested the Mukasey guidelines, contending that the new rules could open the door to racial or religious profiling and to fishing expeditions against Americans.

In 2006, The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency had each month been flooding the bureau with thousands of names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses that its surveillance and data-mining programs had deemed suspicious. But frustrated agents found that virtually all of the tips led to dead ends or innocent Americans.

When the Mukasey guidelines went into effect in December 2008, they allowed the F.B.I. to use a new category of investigation called an “assessment.” It permits an agent, “proactively or based on investigative leads,” to scrutinize a person or a group for signs of a criminal or national security threat, according to the F.B.I. manual.

The manual also says agents need “no particular factual predication” about a target to open an assessment, although the basis “cannot be arbitrary or groundless speculation.” And in selecting subjects for such scrutiny, agents are allowed to use ethnicity, religion or speech protected by the First Amendment as a factor — as long as it is not the only one.

An assessment is less intensive than a more traditional “preliminary” inquiry or a “full” investigation, which requires greater reason to suspect wrongdoing but also allows agents to use more intrusive information-gathering techniques, like wiretapping.

Still, in conducting an assessment, agents are allowed to use other techniques — searching databases, interviewing the subjects or people who know them, sending confidential informers to infiltrate an organization, attending a public meeting like a political rally or a religious service, and following and photographing people in public places.

In March 2009, Russ Feingold, then a Democratic senator from Wisconsin, asked the F.B.I. how many assessments it had initiated under the new guidelines and how many regular investigations had been opened based on information developed by those assessments.

In November 2010, the Justice Department sent a classified letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee answering Mr. Feingold’s question. This month, it provided an uncensored copy of the same answer to The Times as a result of its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

F.B.I. officials said in an interview that the statistics represented a snapshot as of late March 2009, so the 11,667 assessment files were generated over a roughly four-month period. But they said they believed that agents had continued to open assessments at roughly the same pace since then.

Some aspects of the statistics are hazy, officials cautioned.

For example, even before the December 2008 changes, the bureau routinely followed up on low-grade tips and leads under different rules. But that activity was not formally tracked as an “assessment” that could be easily counted and compared.

F.B.I. officials also said about 30 percent of the 11,667 assessments were just vague tips — like a report of a suspicious car that included no license plate number. Such tips are entered into its computer system even if there is no way to follow up on them.

Finally, they said, it is impossible to know precisely how many assessments turned up suspicious facts. A single assessment may have spun off more than one higher investigation, and some agents may have neglected to record when such an investigation started as an assessment.

Ms. Caproni also said that even though the F.B.I. manual says agents can open assessments “proactively,” they still must always have a valid reason — like a tip that is not solid enough to justify a more intensive level of investigation but should still be checked out.

But Mr. German, of the A.C.L.U., said that allowing agents to initiate investigations without a factual basis “seems ripe for abuse.” He added, “What they should be doing is working within stricter guidelines that help them focus on real threats rather than spending time chasing shadows.”


Senators Say Patriot Act Is Being Misinterpreted


Published: May 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — Two senators claimed on Thursday that the Justice Department had secretly interpreted the so-called Patriot Act in a twisted way, enabling domestic surveillance activities that many members of Congress do not understand.

At the same time, Congress and the White House were rushing to enact legislation to prevent a lapse in several of the federal government’s investigative powers under the Patriot Act that were set to expire at midnight. The Senate passed the bill 72 to 23 late in the afternoon, and within hours the House approved it 250 to 153. In an unusual move, a White House spokesman said that President Obama, who was in Europe, would “direct the use” of an autopen machine to sign the bill into law without delay.

During the debate, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that the executive branch had come up with a secret legal theory about what it could collect under a provision of the Patriot Act that did not seem to dovetail with a plain reading of the text. “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon: When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry,” Mr. Wyden said. He invoked the public’s reaction to the illegal domestic spying that came to light in the mid-1970s, the Iran-contra affair, and the Bush administration’s program of surveillance without warrants.

Another member of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, backed Mr. Wyden’s account, saying, “Americans would be alarmed if they knew how this law is being carried out.”

The Obama administration declined to explain what the senators were talking about. Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said that Congressional oversight committees and a special panel of national security judges — known as the FISA Court — were aware of how the executive branch was interpreting and using surveillance laws.

“These authorities are also subject to extensive oversight from the FISA Court, from Congress, from the executive branch,” Mr. Boyd said.

Mr. Wyden has long denounced the idea of “secret law” — classified memorandums and rulings about the meaning of surveillance law developed by executive branch officials and the FISA Court. He and Mr. Udall had proposed requiring the Justice Department to make public its official interpretation of what the Patriot Act means. The chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, agreed to hold a hearing on their concerns next month.

The two had also sponsored a proposal to tighten the circumstances in which one of the expiring provisions, known as Section 215, could be used. It allows the F.B.I. to obtain “any tangible things” — like business records about customers.

Mr. Udall criticized Section 215, saying it lets the government get private information about people without a link to a terrorism or espionage inquiry.

In a 2009 debate over the Patriot Act, another member of the Intelligence Committee, Russell Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, also hinted that Section 215 was being used in a secret way that, he said, “Congress and the American people deserve to know” about. He was defeated for re-election in 2010.

The business records section of the Patriot Act had been set to expire, along with provisions allowing the F.B.I. to obtain “roving” wiretap orders to follow suspects who change phone numbers, and to obtain national security wiretaps against noncitizen terrorism suspects who are not connected to any foreign power.

Congressional leaders had agreed to extend the provisions before they expired. But Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Kentucky, initially blocked an expedited vote on the bill because he wanted Senate leaders to allow a vote on several amendments. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, allowed votes on two Paul amendments, which would have offered greater privacy protections for records involving gun sales and banking.


Big Brother Goes to West Egg


Published: May 4, 2011

Kings Point, N.Y., on Long Island’s gilded North Shore, wants to do criminal checks on every car that enters its placid realm. It has the technology — license-plate cameras hooked up to police computers — and is borrowing the money to install 44 of them. For about a million dollars, it will get what village trustees say is the snuggest security blanket money can buy.

Kings Point is not a gated community or club. It’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s West Egg, 3.5 square miles of estates, McMansions and shady streets, home to about 5,000 people. It has little crime, though there has been a recent frightening spate of break-ins by a voyeur who snuck into girls’ bedrooms. Mayor Michael Kalnick says the cameras predate that and have been discussed for years as a good way to spot lapsed registrations, suspended licenses and stolen cars. They were approved in August, but most people didn’t know until Newsday published a big article.

Villagewide car surveillance seems like a big leap into the chilly postprivacy age. But at a village meeting last week, I waited in vain for someone to complain about civil liberties. Mayor Kalnick took some testy questions: Why are taxes rising 9.8 percent? Why is the police commissioner getting a raise (to $199,756)? Why wasn’t the camera contract put out to bid? Why didn’t you tell us about the last budget meeting? Why doesn’t the village have a working Web site?

He didn’t have to answer the privacy question because nobody asked it. I’m not sure why, but Big Brother lost to taxes as the bigger menace. Only one young man, who said he was from outside Kings Point and drove through on his way home, bristled a little. How come I wasn’t asked about this camera thing? he asked. If you’ve done nothing wrong, Mr. Kalnick told him, you should have nothing to worry about.


Court Revives Lawsuit Over Government Surveillance


Published: March 21, 2011

WASHINGTON — Civil libertarians opposed to the government’s expanded wiretapping powers were bolstered Monday after an appellate court reinstated a lawsuit challenging an eavesdropping law passed by Congress in 2008. Related in Opinion

In one of the few remaining lawsuits on the issue, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups charged that the expanded surveillance powers granted by Congress were unconstitutional and illegal. A Federal District Court judge in Manhattan had thrown out the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs failed to show they were actually spied upon and therefore did not have legal standing to sue. But the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit disagreed, allowing the lawsuit to move forward.

It found that the groups challenging the wiretapping law, including lawyers and journalists communicating with people overseas who might fall under terrorism investigations, had a reasonable fear that their international calls and e-mail would be monitored by the government.

While the appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case, the groups bringing the case said they were glad to be able to bring the legal substance of their challenge to court.

“I have always thought that we had a very strong argument,” said Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the A.C.L.U. “The new law allows the government to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans’ communication, and it makes the Fourth Amendment altogether irrelevant.”

The law, known as the FISA Amendments Act, followed a furious debate over the legality of President George W. Bush’s secret eavesdropping program. In amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress gave covert agencies greater leeway to monitor international communications without direct court oversight.

As a presidential candidate at the time, Senator Barack Obama opposed the broadening of executive power, but he angered some liberal supporters by reversing his position and voting for the measure.

The Justice Department, which could seek a rehearing in the Second Circuit to prevent the case from returning to the district court, had no comment Monday.



Warm Weather