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Aug-02-2008 15:15printcomments

Is the Bush Administration Using Blackwater Mercenaries in the DEA?

An extremely angry employee of the dispensary compared the DEA raid to being "robbed by a bunch of thugs downtown."

This photo from the LA Times shows what we assume is a DEA agent, wearing a shirt from Blackwater, the mercenary group accused of slaughtering innocent people in the streets of Iraq that has gone from black to hot water over the last two years. Are Blackwater and the DEA trading members?

(LOS ANGELES) - Are members of a disputed mercenary killer group now working with the DEA? A photo from the LA Times shows proof of one of two things; either Blackwater members are now working for the Bush White House's Drug Enforcement Agency, or this semi-illegitimate band of rogue federal cops have worse discipline than any of us ever imagined.

As a U.S. Marine, I would have faced charges for simply wearing my camouflage utility uniform into a store. There are these things called standards that the Corps and other military and police groups are obligated to follow. It is to avoid giving someone the wrong idea about who you are and your application in society. I guess Blackwater and the federal marijuana plant warriors don't care what people think.

The LA Times article suggests that the California pot dispensary raids have put the DEA's tactics in question. Far beyond the idea of these clowns wearing Blackwater shirts, the overall point is that they are operating above the law. California voters firmly stated that they want people to have access to medical marijuana.

Feds Make Mockery out of California Voters

The fact is that in addition to the state's ignored laws making medical marijuana legal, two appellate court decisions in California said federal laws don't take priority. But the DEA operates above the law and they are the ones who should be charged, tried and jailed. In fact, I see this happening in the future as we are probably very close to electing a new President who will reallocate the mission of these agents who needlessly press the pot issue, as the nation's problems with methamphetamine spirals out of control.

We have never had a federal government so out of touch with the realities of the people in this country.

In her article, the LA Times' Sandy Banks states that the flak-jacketed federal agents executing their commando-style raid at the Organica Collective, overtook a pot dispensary with such a mellow vibe that its business card features a dove and a cross.

During their "raid" DEA agents cut open a safe and confiscated boxes of records, a pair of flat screen monitors listing available varieties of weed, and the contents of an ATM. In true form, the federal cops left the place in a total mess.

A customer named Clyde Carey told Times reporter Tami Abdollah that they frightened the customers and employees by storming in "in full combat gear." He said it was "like literally an episode of '24' when they bust in on a terrorist cell."

Someone needs to tell the DEA that there are legitimate crimes taking place in this city. There are killers and robbers and rapists and child molesters and they need to be dealt with. Perhaps they get a real charge out of raiding pot dispensaries. Maybe they like picking on mellow, innocent people because they are not a threat to police. Maybe these agents should be looking at the bigger picture.

An extremely angry employee of the dispensary said the police kept him handcuffed for four hours. He compared the DEA raid to being "robbed by a bunch of thugs downtown."

The feds didn't tell the LA Times why they targeted Organica, a warehouse operation on a industrial stretch of Washington Boulevard located close to Venice Beach. Of course that would not be expected of an agency that operates like this one. One thing is certain; the day will come when these storm troopers will have to behave differently and actually enforce worthy laws rather than working off the interpretation that states in this country do not have rights. Of course that comes all the way down from George W. Bush himself, who could change the course of this madness at any time.

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Anonymous December 9, 2008 7:35 am (Pacific time)

In response to Moyock August 10, 2008, if you're not mercenaries then it's clear you wouldn't just go out and kill narcoterrorists, if that's what the DEA and ISAF want why don't they do it, as they don't have the military doing such direct laundry work. Every now and then they just happen to take down a house full of drugs/money from narco business. Now if it clearly involves the US and or other alliance policies against the war on terror, funding terror organizations, etc and that's what you signed to do then of course it needs to be stopped. So instead of confiscating it for greed, include law abiding points within your stips of the contract with entities as the DEA, and give it back to the people and make it clear that is exactly what happens. Show how the money and confiscations directly help the people from wherever they originated and encourage them to get out of the narco business and turn to other industries. Why continue to go sour. Who is Blackwater? As for the security contractor who shot the civilians in Iraq he should just turn himself in an or apologize if it was in lack of training and inexperience (it's too bad he couldn't give his testimony to the public surrounded by haters that must bite having to keep it bottled inside). And if it clearly was in self defense then disregard, but ensure that clearly was the case and or eventually God will catch up to you, it always works out. Short but some feedback.

Mark November 18, 2008 11:14 am (Pacific time)

I hope that Blackwater will send their ship to Somali waters. There are allready numerous naval ships in the area but no decrease of hostage takings. Maybe Blackwater has the guts to send those Somali pirates/terrorists to Davy Jones' locker.

Alex October 17, 2008 4:23 pm (Pacific time)

Federal law out weighs any state law, period. Not only in our country but in any country in the world. And for the Blackwater shirt, I have about 3. Just like when people wear shirts with the name of other countries on it doesn't mean they're from that country.

john August 13, 2008 12:53 am (Pacific time)

Lewis, the problem from my perspective is this: private contractors allow the politicians to pursue really bad policies with insulation from accountability when it goes bad, like in Iraq, or more well known, red light cameras in our cities. Private contractors come in and shorten the yellow light duration which generates more revenue but increases the danger to motorists. When they get caught the public officials throw their hands up and say they weren't responsible, it was all the contractors fault. I'm sure a few people commenting would say "then don't break the law and run red lights!" Well if I'd have had time to decide to go or stop I wouldn't. The sneaky contractor took that away from me!

Michelle Ruiz August 12, 2008 8:21 pm (Pacific time)

Ok people, I am SURE the LA Times did not remove the picture as some sort of conspiracy - they probably removed it because it is a BAD practice for news outlets to publish photos of Federal Agents - especially DEA. Being a DEA agent entails undercover work and by the LA Times publishing the picture (and subsequently this fine publication) it and now you have placed this Agent in danger. Also - from Chris Rock's how to avoid trouble by the police - #1 - OBEY THE LAW!!

Moyock August 10, 2008 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

A lot of agencies are trained by Blackwater. We are not mercenaries, we sign contracts and overseas assignments require State Dept. creds. DEA and Blackwater are working in Afghanistan. The big discussion is whether to whack the poppy plants and thus piss off the farmers as the State Dept. and ISAF want or to let the farmers get paid, follow the money and then kill the narcoterrorists and confiscate the opium as the DEA and Dod want.

T. August 9, 2008 10:34 pm (Pacific time)

So the guy attended a Blackwater training course and got a T shirt. They have been in the training biz for years. The security contractor side of Blackwater is only a small portion of the company. I'm currently wearing a Corvette T shirt. I must work for GM...

Brinna August 4, 2008 8:29 pm (Pacific time)

By the way, the LA times quickly tried to bury this aspect of the story by removing the photo of the Blackwater Oops. Too late. It's all over the internet. But personally, I find the removal of the photo more disturbing than the presence of Blackwater at the raid. It says a lot about mainstream media, and their attempt to whitewash the so call "war on drugs" (read War on American Citizens).

GreenFloyd August 4, 2008 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

Hi everyone, Did anyone here actually see the guy in the photo during the raid? Or, can anyone here verify the LA Times removed the photo? Thank you, GreenFloyd (Portland, OR)

Telford August 4, 2008 6:42 pm (Pacific time)

One of my vehicles is a large black SUV (hybrid, 22 mpg/city) with dark-tinted windows (my tint man assures me the tint level is legal) and from time to time I get comments, usually in store parking lots, that I and my vehicle remind them of people who work for Blackwater or am I a "gun-for-hire", and do I care about getting terrible mileage and hurting the climate, etc. ? I usually find out who these people are (license plates and other methods we black SUV owners are privy to) and I report them to my supervisors on the Mothership, what they do with that information I do not know, nor do I want to. Note: Most of my driving is in an electric golfcart on quiet residential streets. The cops who see me give me a pass because I think my dark sunglasses scare them, but who knows?

Going Broke August 4, 2008 12:05 pm (Pacific time)

We have been privatizing a wide variety of government services; of special note is in the area of \"corrections.\" I have a number of friends who are prior military who work for corporations that contract out services with both the federal and state governments. It is unfair to tar all of these people because of a few bad apples. When it comes to pay, it\'s apples and oranges. To compare military pay and civilian pay is really nonsensical, but I\'m sure people will not agree. Why should a heart surgeon get paid more than a nurse? A lawyer more than a retail clerk? A journalist more than a sheep herder? Market forces coupled with special needs and experience usually sets the $$ scale.

Mad Mike August 3, 2008 2:47 pm (Pacific time)

DEA is not a uniformed service! It is an undercover law enforcement agency that is more para-military in places like Afghanistan.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2008 10:47 am (Pacific time)

To all:
  Representative governance as a democratic republic demands the priority of federal over state law, for obvious reasons any thinking person can today appreciate, without which one has "only a club-of-states all competing for lush corporate interests", not a national government.
  Blackwater participation in this country presages still further movement towards a chaotic coup similar to what occurred in Germany and Italy.
  ("See with own eyes" link to follow; see also next two Op Eds upcoming.)

Henry Ruark August 4, 2008 10:50 am (Pacific time)

sts et al: Yours re S-N now gaining national attention right on the facts; have had several similar notes from friends widely separated around the nation...including two old press contacts still playing that game. Since that is so, comments need to be perpetrated in full responsibility and expected accountability, and built not only from life experience but on checkable fact--always accessable via Internet, as is this channel. If you have one, you have the other, too... Open, honest, democratic dialog is a demanded essential for any workable democracy. Participation here is a freedom, which, like all others, demands responsibility as its other-side. Think before you write, and share those sharp insights from which we all learn.

Henry Ruark August 4, 2008 10:04 am (Pacific time)

L.E. et al: Further re dissonance between states on priority of federal law...we fought a major conflict on that principle once. It was the Civil War, after Southern states refused to accept our national movement from the oppressions of slavery, and decided to secede. That action was taken, as so many are today, in desperate defense of private-profits, then for plantation owners producing cotton at lower cost due to full ownership of the requisite labor. Should we go that route again, or be satisfied with what has come about since ? Some corporate management still seeks to operate on that outmoded principle, as many workers will affirm today. States are well protected vs federal priority simply by fact of representative dialog leading to decision in the Congress - once decided at that level, chaos of possibly conflicting decisions in every state is rationally avoided. August 4, 2008 1:06 am (Pacific time)

mysteriously this picture is gone from any of the LA times articles which leads me to think something is up? Can anyone id this guy? Since when is a private company allowed to steal from another private company? Second if you google Organica collective you will find it is located in marina del rey this Culver City connection is stemming from the raiders which I assume is Culver city that asked the dea to come and get us.We are a compassionate club that does help many sick people get thier meds how can the government take away sick peoples organic pharmacy? we have no complaints filled by citizens. Third the things to be taken was evidence since when are flat screens evidence they contain no information. I would like to hear from anyone that can help with info

sts August 3, 2008 7:12 pm (Pacific time)

10 billion for arms in iraq, and they dont even have electricity or clean water.. OUR infrastructure is falling apart but they can spend tons on a medical marijuana raid. honestly now, is this picture messed up or what?

sts August 3, 2008 5:54 pm (Pacific time)

first of all..what henry said :-) the posts are interesting tho. People seem to think that if they go along with this madness they will be saved from the blackwater people. You wont. and one last comment. Congratulations to Tim King, his comments from this story were used on another major website that I frequent. good job Tim

Rich Hudson August 3, 2008 5:26 pm (Pacific time)

This shows that the war on drugs is not only an excellent excuse for tossing people in jail but also for establishing the precedent of flagrantly using the executive branch's private army against U.S. citizens.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2008 3:18 pm (Pacific time)

Mad Mike: Given your comments so far, I can see why the cognomen fits so well. IF you wish to be accepted as rightfully-carping critic, it is wise to present you right to credibility first, for responsibility and accountability, like perhaps reference to past writing, journalism, editing or similar working experience as paid professional. Otherwise yours rates only as what we call b/button comment here, since everyone has (at least !) one, and they are all pretty much the same.

Henry Ruark August 3, 2008 3:13 pm (Pacific time)

To all: 'Twaa ever thus: ""It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificually induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear." -General Douglas MacArthur, Speech, May 15, 1951 Anyone wish to question his "right to speak" ? Anyone wish to deny the very close parallel-situation now, in this nation ?

Mad Mike August 3, 2008 2:47 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, I doubt that you were ever in the service considering the way you write. DEA is not a uniformed service, moron! It is an undercover law enforcement agency that is more para-military in places like Afghanistan.

Tim King: Mike, I am a former Marine and today I cover war overseas as a reporter.  Rise from the depths my friend and stop the name calling on posts here; it really is not necessary.  I know the DEA is not a uniformed service, but there is still something called uniformity and it is ridiculous to if nothing else, advertise for a group like Blackwater.  These agents are paid a lot of money to go and do these marijuana raids; they should not represent a group that gives this nation a black eye.  Contractors from groups like Blackwater are paid substantially more than our hard working combat troops, that is nothing to advertise either.

Anonymous August 3, 2008 2:44 pm (Pacific time)

L.E. et al: Any thoughtful, informed person will recognize the unavoidable necessity for national priority on all laws within any representative democracy. Otherwise what you have is a loose association of states, with inevitable conflicts with each other's laws and the resulting chaos --which was why the Founders wrote the Constitution as they did, with some powers clearly given to states and some reserved for national level. Where doubt remains, the Judicial section is empowered to make decision. That followed on after the experience preceding the Constitution, when the birth of the nation was wrapped up in a prior agreement whose flaws soon appeared. Since large shares of funds come from national level, paid by all via taxes for national purposes determined by proper assembly, would you wish them to be at the mercy of state bid and competition for control, with still further confusion and conflict among the states, thus pitted against each other ? After all, in representative government, i.e. with any form of Congressional function, the state representatives carry full burden for all due open discussion prior to making decisions then binding on the states and the nation, too. The heart of democracy is consent of the governed, accomplished via the use of representative assembly -- in our case at state level and at national level also. How else do you suggest this be accomplished ? Would you, perhaps, prefe a single Imperial President ? That might simplify things all the way down into the ground, but hardly reaches the level of democratic freedom via representative government as we now know it, with over 200 years of fairly successful experience --so far !

Henry Ruark August 3, 2008 2:23 pm (Pacific time)

M-Mike et al: You are either uninformed or misinformed. Blackwater is a corporation contracted by the Pentagon to furnish paid warriors for assignment under their contract. Theay are now active in seeking similar work around the world for corporate needs. Those warriors are, by press reports on the scene, a dread assemblage of mercenaries from every possible background, paid far above what GI's or others in service are awarded. Their use by the State Dept. does not in any way enhance what we know to be true about their general characteristics, which are, by reliable press and official reports, precisely what the mercenary "profession" requires: bloodthirsty readiness for combat and total lack of any ordinary level of conscience and accountability except to the pay-masters involved. They are widely used by the armed forces because those forces are short of needed qualified types, despite extremely large enlistment bonuses lushly offered to many who would not otherwise join. Bush's man-in-charge early on, Bremer, manipulated Iraq agreements, then substituted for Iraq law, to provide protection from accountability bearing heavily on our G-I's and that is still in effect today.

ZenaV August 3, 2008 12:16 pm (Pacific time)

Isn't California now "Mexifornia"? That would put them under Mexican law...

Henry Ruark August 3, 2008 11:06 am (Pacific time)

To all: Here's "see with own eyes" report re rapid move toward fascism, once regarded as fantasy for our nation, but now considered real danger. Visit this one, then make up YOUR OWN mind, shared for that process rather than persuasive manipulation here: HAS AMERICA BECOME FASCIST, By Sherwood Ross Friday, 01 August 2008

Anonymous August 3, 2008 10:58 am (Pacific time)

wait a minute....the drug dealers are upset because they got busted by people who were not "nice". News flash...if you don't break the law, you won't have to worry about how issues like this one. Blackwater has a grooming standard...which means the guy in the photo is NOT from Blackwater. Probably a DEA guy who bought the shirt.

Tim King: Drug dealers?  I think it is clearly established that this was a pot dispensary for sick people.  Are liquor store owners bootleggers today?

Brian August 3, 2008 9:58 am (Pacific time)

The people in the DEA need to be tried just like the nazi war criminals

Mad Mike August 3, 2008 3:33 am (Pacific time)

First of all, Blackwater are contractors, NOT mercenaries! Secondly, They are used by the State Department and other government agencies, so get over it losers!

Dave-North Carolina August 3, 2008 2:52 am (Pacific time)

Is it at all possible that the person in the photograph simply went to Blackwater for a training class and bought a t-shirt??? I have five of their shirts just from going there for classes. It dosen't mean I am employed there.

Lewis Erland August 2, 2008 6:07 pm (Pacific time)

It really is a bummer when federal law trumps state laws, but it happens all the time. Just look at the public school system in each state....some federal judge tells the state how to operate even when it's against the voter's interest. Then you also have the federal tenacles that control the money, that is, if you don't do as the Feds say, no money. I don't know much about Blackwater, but most of those that I know who work in the private job market overseas are very professional in performing their contractual tasks. Unfortunately there are always those whose bad behavior tars others. Until the U.S. Congress provides formal signed legislation that allows the states to make their own marijana policies, don't expect anything to change. Also miliary personnel wearing utility uniforms in stores or anywhere else appears to be happening all the time. Does anyone know if the policies have been changed to allow this?

Tim King: That was and I think still is Marine Corps policy, but the Oregon Guard lets people where their utility uniforms in town.

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