Emery Fights Back, DEA expands attack
Marc Emery, the cannabis seed seller who is viewed as a drug kingpin by the US government, emerged from jail on August 5 a week after Canadian police acting under orders from the DEA kidnapped him from a public street in Halifax on July 29.
He emerged from jail barred from operating his seed business, which has closed permanently, but greeted as a hero-martyr by a burgeoning marijuana activism community energized by the arrest of Emery, his assistant Marijuana Man, and his close associate Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek.
All three have now been freed from jail.
Emery has been giving non-stop media interviews since his release, warning his seed customers that the US government is likely behind a mail fraud scheme that seeks to bust growers who may have ordered seeds from Emery.
He says he is prepared to fight the US government, go to prison, and even die in his struggle to legalize marijuana, and is asking cannabis people and opponents of fascism to help him with legal expenses, and with donations, advertising and other support for Cannabis Culture magazine and Pot-TV.
During a bail hearing that preceded Emery's release, an American prosecutor told the court that American DEA agents had been buying seeds from Emery for many years, and growing them.
The DEA's infiltration of Canada in the Emery case comes at a time when Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has kicked the DEA out of Venezuela, alleging that DEA agents are "spies" who are in his country not just to root out the illegal drug trade, but to assist a purported US attempt to overthrow Chavez, who is an outspoken critic of Bush administration foreign policy.
The Bush administration has responded by threatening to classify Venezuela as a drug exporting country that doesn't cooperate with the international drug war run by the US and the UN.
Chavez, an ally of Fidel Castro who also alleges that the CIA and other Bush lackeys are plotting a coup or assassination to get rid of him, told the US to get the DEA out of Venezuela immediately.
Marijuana enthusiasts in North America are making similar demands. They want the DEA out of their lives and countries, and are alarmed that the DEA is apparently sponsoring a scam in which letters are being sent to "customers" of Marc Emery Seeds. The letters ask people to send money through Western Union. If a person does so, their action essentially constitutes self-incrimination that could give DEA probable cause to execute a search warrant looking for a marijuana garden.
The scheme involves Wal-Mart, a rogue corporation subject to labor protests around the world. Wal-Mart is an enthusiastic corporate drug warrior. It encourages its photo processing employees to nark on people who take pictures of pot plants and give the film to Wal-Mart for processing. Don't shop at Wal-Mart!
During the Vancouver bail hearing that set the stage for the release of Marijuana Man and Emery, Crown Prosecutor Rose Datillo told presiding judge Patrick Dohm that evidence against Emery included purchases of thousands of Emery's marijuana seeds by undercover DEA agents.
Government documents allege that DEA agents started buying seeds from Emery in 2000, grew them as evidence, and then again began buying seeds at Emery's Vancouver store and via the internet in 2004.
The US government has a marijuana farm at the University of Mississippi. Did the DEA grow Marc's primo seeds there?
Marijuana grown there has been used to supply several medical patients who were lucky enough to qualify for a program that delivers hundreds of pre-rolled joints to them every month.
The program was terminated to the extent that no new applicants can enter it, but government weed still flows to Elvy Musikka, Irv Rosenfeld, and a few other patients with severe medical conditions.
Cannabis experts who've heard that the DEA bought Emery's seeds say it's doubtful that Emery's marijuana genetics have been grown at the government's medpot farm.
"I've seen the schwag they send Elvy," one expert commented, "and I've seen the primo bud grown from even the least expensive Emery seeds. There's no comparison. Unless the government has found a way to grow garbage from good genetics, the DEA wasn't using the university farm to grow its Emery evidence crops."
Many non-police customers of Emery Seeds have been wondering whether government investigations compromised customer identities and could lead to raids of seed buyers.
While Emery Seeds always maintained the highest levels of security and customer protection firewalls, the sad fact regarding the purchase of marijuana seeds from internet or in-person retailers is that viable marijuana seeds are illegal in most countries, and it is illegal to ship them to countries such as the USA.
Regardless of what, when or how police may or may not have been monitoring Marc Emery's seed business, anybody who grows anything resembling marijuana is committing an act of non-violent civil disobedience and must always realize that police have a war going on against the plant and the people who care about it.
Even if you never ordered a marijuana seed in your life, if you have any involvement in marijuana, you could become a victim of the war against it.
Customers of other marijuana seed companies are reporting suspicious circumstances that could indicate DEA surveillance of seed companies based in Holland, England and Canada. Any marijuana seed company that advertises on the Internet and/or ships seeds to the US is subject to police scrutiny. Many marijuana seed companies, especially those operating in Vancouver, have closed or gone underground.
The bottom line is that if you have marijuana garden grown from seed you ordered from any other international supplier, you need to spend quiet time with your intuition and intellect to determine if you need to take action to prevent being busted.
Activists and drug war victims who have received donations from Emery have also been concerned that they would be affected by the government's charge that Emery was involved in "money laundering."
Prosecutor Datillo said during the bail hearing that some of the evidence that proves money-laundering charges includes money transfers made to the US by Emery.
Given that Emery donated tens of thousands of dollars to reform organizations, activists, and drug war defendants, it is possible that the DEA has tracked some of those donations. But what good will it do the DEA to prove that Emery gave all his money to the "marijuana movement"?
Research into money laundering laws and "proceeds of crime" laws indicate that recipients who received money from Emery are not guilty of any crime as long as they were not part of an explicit scheme to hide money for Emery, or that was later returned to Emery in a criminal arrangement.
Emery has vehemently denied that he engaged in money laundering.
To qualify as a crime such as money laundering, there has to be specifically stated criminal intent from both parties. People who received money from philanthropist Emery will be reassured to know that there is no evidence in any government statement or document so far that people who received donations from Emery are under threat of being busted by the US government.
The donations Emery made are so innocent and political in nature that they would inevitably portray him in a very favorable light if they were offered as evidence of crimes by federal prosecutors if he is ever put on trial, especially in Seattle, where activism is a municipal hobby.
Emery has spent thousands funding Canadian Supreme Court marijuana law challenges in which he was not the plaintiff or defendant, but rather the sponsor.
Famed Canadian pot lawyer Alan Young says that almost anybody who has ever done anything useful in the marijuana legalization movement has received money from Emery.
The seed seller has funded placards for New York street rallies, provided sustenance for medical marijuana patients unable to defend themselves from DEA raids, assisted hard drug addicts with rehab programs, and founded two exciting media properties that are more about political anti-drug war education and Emery's unique brand of libertine, Libertarian pot freedom than about marijuana as a "drug."
Emery spent his money funding activism, education, and big parties - it will be hard for the feds to twist his expenditures to make them look like money laundering, especially if the trial is held in Seattle, Washington, which is one of the most liberal cities in the US.
And the feds better watch their rhetoric: their credibility is suffering from spokesperson overkill.
DEA boss Karen Tandy said Emery had been taken down in part because the DEA wanted to kill his ability to fund marijuana legalization activists and activities.
This kind of statement is perfect for Emery's lawyers, who will argue against extradition on the basis that the DEA's actions are political rather than neutral enforcement of drug laws.
During the initial government press conference held in Seattle to announce the bust of Emery and two co-defendants, government spokespersons claimed to have traced Emery seeds to grow operations in several states, including Indiana, Florida, California, Tennessee, Montana, Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey and North Dakota. They said they intended to follow up by arresting people growing marijuana from Emery seeds, and it's safe to bet that they have done so and will try to arrest more people.
At later press conferences, officials said they had several arrested marijuana growers who would testify under oath that they'd used seeds from Emery for their illegal grow ops.
At the bail hearing, Prosecutor Datillo said Vancouver police, postal officials, and DEA agents had been examining Emery's mail for several months prior to the July 29 raids and arrests.
Datillo said the envelopes were not opened, but were only examined externally.
What does the DEA actually know? Probably a lot more than they are letting on.
There are debates on cannabis websites about how much Emery Seed customers and other correspondents should be worried that the investigations might involve them.
A spokesperson for the US Federal Prosecutor's Office said that people who had "done any kind of correspondence with Mr. Emery" during the span of the investigation "should realize that the investigation used postal inspectors and customs inspectors on both sides of the border" as part of the investigating team.
"Law enforcement isn't going to give you a road map if you're in a criminal enterprise and one of your co-conspirators gets in trouble so you can get the heads up on how you can avoid law enforcement," said the spokesperson. "Police are not going to tell everybody who did something illegal that they are coming. They are going to say some things in open court and other things will be disclosed in closed chambers to the judge only, not to the press or to the public. They are protecting their undercover assets and confidential aspects of their investigation. You don't have to open an envelope to see what's in it. My advice to your audience is, if I had been writing to Mr. Emery about anything, not just about illegal marijuana seeds, I would be concerned."
The feds definitely want to protect the identities of the male-female undercover duo that developed a relationship with Emery and seed advisor Marijuana Man before the bust. The agents even went so far as to repeatedly try to get Emery to sell them kilos of marijuana, and were disappointed when he refused.
The reliability and honesty of these agents and any informers is a major factor in whether Canadian judges will grant the US request to extradite Emery so he can be tried in the US, where he could face life imprisonment or the death penalty for "crimes" that are minor, seldom-enforced infractions in Canada.
According to a US Justice Department Inspector General report released just before Emery was arrested, the DEA is in bed with dangerous and dishonest people that it uses to build cases against "drug criminals."
Inspector General Glenn Fine says in a summary report that the DEA and federal prosecutors have engaged in scandalous behavior by using sleazy undercover operatives to bust people.
The report says the DEA has at least 4100 undercover snitches operating around the world. Many of them are drawing down huge salaries. When snitches engage in violent, fraudulent or otherwise criminal behavior on and off the job, DEA agents and attorneys back them up and help them escape prosecution.
Andrew Chambers is apparently typical of DEA's snitches. He received nearly $2.5 million US for providing evidence against 430 drug defendants.
When defense attorneys proved that Chambers was a serial liar who repeatedly committed perjury under oath, the DEA and federal prosecutors ignored that and kept using him as an informant.
Inspector General Fine found that DEA and federal prosecutors break federal laws regarding monitoring and evaluation of snitches, and that the feds have no idea how much they actually pay these people.
This is relevant to Emery's plight. In 2002, British Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon rejected a DEA extradition request based on DEA misconduct involving corrupt informants and undercover operations.
The DEA wanted to extradite Canadian citizen Dave Licht to face charges relating to a cocaine deal brokered by DEA undercover agents and informants in 1999.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("Mounties") worked with DEA in an entrapment case that saw DEA agents and informants pretending to be Colombian cocaine dealers trying to find Canadian customers. DEA operatives brought cocaine into Canada via a bi-lateral investigatory agreement similar to the mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) that was used to investigate Emery.
Licht and other Canadians failed to take the DEA's bait, however, and the Mounties were upset that US cocaine had entered Canada as part of a botched undercover operation that looked more like an attempt to induce crime than an attempt to investigate an already-existing criminal enterprise. The Canadian government backed out of the bi-lateral deal and told the US to keep its agents out of Canada.
But that didn't stop the DEA. The agency ignored Canada's wishes and sent its undercover operatives back into Canada with more cocaine, busted Licht, and then demanded that Canada extradite him to the US.
"The DEA's illegal conduct is extremely offensive because of the violation of Canadian sovereignty without explanation or apology," said Justice Dillon in turning down the US request. "The conduct of a United States civilian police agent entering Canada without the knowledge or consent of Canadian authorities, in defiance of known Canadian requirements for legal conduct, with the express purpose to entice Canadians to the United States to commit criminal acts in that jurisdiction, and acting illegally to offer to sell cocaine in Canada, is shocking to the Canadian conscience. A United States police agent entered Canada without proper immigration status to carry out an illegal activity without the knowledge or consent of the RCMP and knowing that the RCMP had withdrawn consent to further involvement in the reverse-sting operation. This conduct is clearly contrary to Canada's national interests."
Also contrary to Canada's national interests is what the DEA has done to Emery and his co-defendants.
The DEA has become the lead agency for implementing harsh cannabis laws in states that have voted to legalize medical cannabis. DEA agents enjoy busting people in wheelchairs. Now, we see the DEA operating in Canada, as it has long done in dozens of other countries, and using Canadian police and prosecutors to do its dirty work.
Wherever there's a garden of taboo plants, there's DEA, wondering if it can bust the garden.
There's an ongoing worldwide DEA-UN program that hunts down and eliminates every plant that's on the hit list: coca, cannabis, poppies, peyote, ephedra, and many other healing herbs are warred against as if plants are somehow murderers, bombers, rapers, and other human criminals.
The comments about Emery's "arrogance and greed" and his "multi-million dollar operations" made by US authorities smack of a Karl Rove innuendo campaign and cheap media gimmicks.
Fact is, the drug war includes extraordinary rendition, fungicides, herbicides, ecocides, genocides, tanks, infernos, narks, bullets, asset forfeiture, flamethrowers, napalm, MLAT?s, and undercover agents who kill plants and arrest people who love plants.
Yet the government says people use Emery seeds to conduct "environmentally damaging" outdoor grows. As if the US government cares about damage to the environment! This same government refuses to prosecute corporations that do illegal clearcuts that are far more damaging than outdoor marijuana plantations. The US government uses bio-warfare in its war on plant drugs.
The government attacks growers who plant marijuana in barren earth where logging companies have ruined the forests. Marijuana's roots restore soil and the stalks of cut sinsemilla enrich the soil when they are left in the fields.
The growing plant can provide shade, pollen and food for bees, animals and birds. The plant can be made into food, fuel, fiber, medicine, sacrament, anointing oil, and intoxicant.
Strange that Emery faces life in prison, or maybe even the death penalty, for helping people grow this healing plant.
The government says Emery's seeds were the genesis of a deadly crop that kills youth after addicting them. They say he's a pot pied piper leading kids to super-strong weed and bubblehash. He's Johnny Appleweed, wandering the Internet, spreading Haze and Northern Lights, teaching people how to grow.
Suicide bombers lurk in the subways, meth ravages a generation, the world is torn by war, but the US government is on alert against, on a crusade against, doing cross-border police investigations against... none other than Marc Emery.
No wonder they haven't captured Osama yet. They're too busy going after seed merchants!
Citizens held down by prohibition are restless.
In Alabama, Leon Carmichael, who like Emery is charged with money laundering and drug offenses, won a case in federal court that allows him to continue to display on his website the photos of four informants and a DEA agent who helped bust him.
"WANTED: Information on These Informants and Agent," the site says, and then asks people to give Carmichael's attorneys info about the agents so he can use the material to impeach the agents' testimony at trial.
The site says that the site is "definitely not an attempt to harass or intimidate any informants or agents, but simply an attempt to seek information." Yet, federal prosecutors tried to squash the site, claiming it threatened witnesses and federal police. They tried to shut Carmichael up. But US District Court Judge Myron Thompson ruled in favor of Carmichael, saying that the constitution guaranteed Carmichael's right to free speech and to seek information about his accusers.
Sean Bucci, a resident of Massachusetts, followed Carmichael's example by creating his www.WhosaRat.com website.
This site is a search engine and member service allowing members to post the names, photos and identifying information of federal and local snitches and police.
"Every month, nearly 100,000 Americans are arrested on drug charges," says Bucci, making it clear that his site is about information, not retribution. "There are over two million people in jail in this country because the government dedicates most of its resources to the drug war. Many defendants have no reliable way to get information about the agents that arrested them or the informants that all too often tell outright lies in an effort to get their own criminal charges or sentences reduced. Our site's extensive database will solve that problem for those who are having a hard time proving the officers or informants set to testify against them are not credible."
Police and undercover snitches who attack pot aren't credible, but the Prince of Pot is.
Speaking from his jail cell during his week of incarceration, Emery said he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of being a "sacrificial lamb" in the cause of marijuana legalization.
If the DEA thought they would silence Marc Emery or shut down his activism machine, they were dead wrong.
The man isn't scared. He's out on bail. He rested in jail.
Now he's ready to fight for freedom.