Pot Growers Are New Target in "War on Terror"Under Bush, terror has become a justification for any and every abuse of power.
When is enough enough? Is there no end to the lunacy? How far are we willing to let this moronic management, we call the Executive Branch, go?
Last time we checked in on the bizarro nexus between cannabis and terrorism, it was none other than actor/director Tommy Chong who was feeling the Bush administration's post-9/11 wrath. In fact, the stoner icon, whose fabled act was concurrently resuscitated for Fox's drugged and confused comedy hit, That 70s Show, was being slapped by John Ashcroft with a nine-month prison bid, a $20,000 fine and over $100,000 in seized assets for selling bongs. The terrorism connection? He was sentenced on Sept. 11, 2003. And if you think that's a specious connection, it's only gotten worse since. In fact, over the last few years, "terrorist" has become an epithet for all seasons.Wait, now, this is MY favorite part.
In 2003, Iraq occupation architect Richard Perle slapped investigative journalist Seymour Hersh with the term, saying, "Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly." As if filing a story about the doomed occupation of a sovereign state in the pages of the New Yorker was the same thing as flying a 747 into the World Trade Center.
In 2004, Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, "a terrorist organization" because of what Paige defined as the "obstructionist scare tactics" used by its lobbyists. Because we all know it's every educator's dream to buck the systemby blowing themselves up in front of their students.
And just this month, the Bush administration decided to employ the term to legally target the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a sovereign nation's standing army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When you want a war that badly, you'll pretty much do or say anything to get it.
So how does the Bush administration get away with crying terrorist at every opportunity? Say hello to the Military Commissions Act. Thanks to this 2006 piece of legislation, terrorism has become the basis of American foreign and domestic policy. Yes, the term has become equivalent to everything from ideologically driven violence to petty theft, and can be used to incarcerate, exterminate or character assassinate anything in sight.
It's no wonder then that federal officials are now revisiting their previously failed effort to link terrorism to cannabis, the only real cash cow in the government's so-called War on Drugs. Only difference is, this time, they don't have Tommy Chong as a scapegoat.
Unable or unwilling to solve the nation's crippling meth addiction or its hypocritical dependency on prescribed narcotics like oxycontin, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recently rang the terrorism alarm to nail pot growers in Redding's Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California. Along the way, ONDCP "czar" John Walters showed off not only the Bush administration's love of twisted terminology but also its subcultural savvy by coining a memorable phrase of his own.
"We have kind of a reefer blindness," Walters explained during a Redding press conference on the ONDCP's Operation Alesia, a cannabis-eradication program coordinated by the California National Guard's Counterdrug Taskforce and the Shasta County Sheriff's Office. Walters followed that clever turn of phrase with the reliable terroristdesignation to describe the armed growers cultivating cannabis in Shasta County. "These people are armed; they're dangerous. [They're] violent criminal terrorists." He even went so far to argue that the "terrorists" growing weed in Shasta County, as the Redding Record Searchlight reported, "wouldn't hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties."
"Most of the increase can be attributed to the proliferation of foreign Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs), mostly Mexican in origin, which operate in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and throughout California and much of the United States," Odle explained to me by email. "Frequently using illegal aliens residing outside the United States, or recently smuggled across the [sic] boarder, these Mexican criminal groups establish, maintain and protect an increasing number of clandestine operations."
Yet, predictably, Odle couldn't explain what made them terrorists.
"Some DTOs have been linked by law enforcement and investigations to terrorist organizations and pose a substantial and increasing threat to national security," he added in a subsequent email. "Our primary concern here on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is the safety of our forest visitors and agency employees and the negative impacts marijuana has on the environment and natural resources, no matter what name is given to the DTOs that are illegally growing marijuana on America's public lands."
Plus, there are enough holes in the argument to plant your own cannabis seeds. To start with, cannabis may be many things, but it is far from an environmental negative. It has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, can grow in almost any climate, and is a naturally occurring dioecious perennial. (In other words, it's not fossil fuel.)
Further, Odle's claim that safety is Shasta's first concern is understandable, but he offered no examples of violent activity by any of the area growers to legitimize the ONDCP's inflammatory language. Sure, the fact that "some" DTOs have been linked to terrorist organizations is educational, but as with everything the ONDCP touches, specifics are elusive and generalizations are everywhere.
I pressed Odle for further clarification on the terrorism question. But instead of al Qaeda, all I got was more obfuscation. And more Mexicans.
We're going to need help soon, if the recent white papers on drug abuse from the ONDCP are any indication. Because they've enlisted God for help in beating back the devil weed, as their fact sheet "Marijuana and Kids: Faith" explains: "Religion and religiosity repeatedly correlate with lower teen and adult marijuana and substance use rates and buffer the impact of life stress which can lead to marijuana and substance use. ... Other studies show that teens who don't view faith as important are up to four times more likely to use marijuana."
In other words, smoke up, heretical terrorist! You're not only fueling al Qaeda's mass murder by purchasing weed cultivated by illegal Mexicans in the rural public lands of the world, but you're also turning your back on God in the process. As well as replacing the Bush administration's real world with your selfish virtual reality in which cannabis is a relatively harmless, naturally occurring plant that can chill you out as much as it can fill you out. A massive, multiplayer simulation where pot is a viable medicinal alternative to synthesized painkillers like oxycontin, which ease your agony by killing you off altogether.
According to the Bush administration and its politicized ONDCP, you need to unplug from that moonbat matrix and start praying. Fast. Or else.
Labels: Bush Administration, domestic terrorism, Iraq, John Ashcroft, Military Commissions Act, Patriot Act, Richard Perle, Rod Paige, Seymour Hersh, terrorism
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