Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seattle's Chickenshit Mainstream Media Drop The Ball On Operation Green Reaper Pot Busts Story

Bartlett: "...And, and, it's toxic! Yeah, that's it! TOXIC!"

Ah, Seattle. How often you delight me, but how greatly your gutless mainstream media disappoint me.

Case in point: Yesterday's "Operation Green Reaper" marijuana busts, a series of heavily hyped, heavily armed raids on residences and garden supply stores. Federal agents and local police launched the raids, aimed at indoor marijuana growing operations, on April 23, 2008. The authorities claim the grow operations were connected to the owners of garden supply stores in Auburn and Tukwila and a mortgage company in Kent.

Rather than doing any actual journalism -- you know, examining the claims, methods, and motives of the DEA and police who did a King County-wide sweep -- both print and broadcast media, whether through laziness, ineptitude or chicken-shit cowardice, chose to act as PR mouthpieces for law enforcement's doomed efforts to quell the Emerald City's insatiable appetite for sticky green buds.

KOMO News' wholesome, square-jawed Eric Schudiske, in typically nauseating cop-butt-kissing fashion, reported on the Green Reaper busts, and allowed a real whopper to pass him right by.

In Schudiske's "informative" report, we learned from crew-cutted, grimly purposeful First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bartlett that -- Holy Shit! -- growing a little Mary Jane results in a "toxic waste site"! Hey Crewcut Dude, it wasn't a meth lab! Just Mother Earth's green herb. Sigh...

The ridiculous statement, completely unsupportable even in cop reality, was allowed to go unchallenged. Now, if you want to believe that soil, light bulbs, and fertilizer are toxic waste, be my guest. But if so, every home, garden and farm in the PNW is a toxic waste site.

We also learned the interesting fact that "good" neighborhoods automatically become "bad" when these evil pot growers and users move in. Or was that some kind of veiled Yellow Peril racial slam against the "Vietnamese gangs" (as the reportage would have it)? Sheesh. Anyway, these dirty hippies, or potheads, or bikers, or Asians, or whatever the hell they're supposed to be are said to leave houses in such bad shape that nobody wants to even buy them! Um-hmm. Whatever you say, Crewcut Dude.

Hey KOMO, it would be really nice if, along with the paranoid cop bullshit, you could mix it up with some, well, actual facts... 'K?

As if all that weren't bad enough, KOMO 4 anchorman Eric Johnson felt it necessary to fawningly intone "That sounds like some good police work, Eric," at the end of the sorry report. I guess a quick loyalty oath is in order, Eric? "Yeah, I hate those dirty pot growers, too!"

And is it my imagination, or is the video of a grow room full of budding plants stock footage that KOMO already had in the can? NWCN and KING didn't have any plant footage, leading Reality Catcher to believe that most of the plants seized were tiny sprouts or clone starts.

In any event, the U.S. attorney's office claimed the owners of Greenhouse Garden Supply in Tukwila and Scitek Garden Supply in Auburn were among 14 people indicted on undoubtedly trumped up charges. (You know the tactic: Load the case up on the front end with a bunch of bullshit charges they know won't stick, so they can take them off one by one later and claim they are giving you a sweet plea deal.)

Smugly self-important Drug Enforcement Agency officials claimed that in one of the homes raided, in Sammamish, agents seized more than 300 marijuana plants and "tens of thousands of dollars in cash." Of those "300 plants," what do you bet that most or all of them were hard to see without a magnifying glass?

According to court documents, the investigation began in January 2007 (bet they spent a few bucks in that 16 months!) and "determined" that the owners of the garden companies were helping people set up indoor marijuana grows, and even offered to help dispose of the plant byproducts that could not be sold to "drug users."

Never mind the fact that they're just looking for someone to blame in their doomed war on medical marijuana growers and users, and that any garden supply store owner or employee in his right mind wouldn't come within 10 feet of anyone babbling about marijuana.

Officials darkly averred that the owner of Scitek Garden Supply placed ads for growing equipment in Vietnamese newspapers -- horrors! I guess ethnic Vietnamese aren't allowed to buy grow lights for tomatoes. Their misguided investigation "connected" the business to growing operations of more than 14,000 marijuana plants. Probably meaning that maybe they sold a few lights to some guy who grew the pot.

In one of the outlandish claims by authorities, surveillance of the business allegedly shows bags of marijuana plant stalks that were being disposed of for the growers. Hey, how do they know those weren't, say, tomato vines or corn stalks? And you have to ask yourself: What possible gain would a garden supply store obtain from disposing of hemp stalks for their customers?

Investigators claimed that Scitek Garden Supply reported a very modest income over an 18-month period, but that the owner actually took in more than $900,000, mostly in cash. Whoa, guess those cop psychic powers are really working overtime. The indictment filed in federal court claims that more than $1.1 million was laundered through Scitek.

Investigators claimed the 19 (or was it 14? depends which report you believe) homes where the actual growing operations were located were purchased through Jet City Mortgage, and authorities, apparently still drawing on their awesome psychic powers, alleged the loan documents were falsified, and small businesses were bribed to falsely verify the employment of the home purchasers.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers happily feeding at the public trough of tax money were involved in serving 20 search warrants throughout the area. The unlucky scapegoats arrested made their initial court appearances in Seattle on drug and money laundering charges.

If found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $4 million fine.


When, oh when, will the lies and bullshit end? How many lives, and livelihoods, have to be sacrificed on the altar of an expensive, fruitless Drug War?

Bold prediction: These raids will make exactly ZERO impact on the availability of marijuana on Puget Sound.

Just remember, folks: They're spending YOUR tax dollars to pull these asinine capers and to tell these whoppers!

Don't tase me, bro! I gotta call 'em like I see 'em.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

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