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Manna Storehouse "S.W.A.T." story unfolds

By The Bovine  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Now, the Manna Storehouse update. 

 $55,000? — Looking at the big picture

DECEMBER 6, 2008...9:32 PMManna Storehouse “S.W.A.T.”, part 3
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Sheep may safely graze? Manna Storehouse photo

"Sheep may safely graze?" -- Manna Storehouse photo

NOTE: This story was updated 12 noon Sunday (scroll to bottom for latest additions — Part 3a)

By now it seems the story of the SWAT team raid on Manna Storehouse coop in Ohio is “going viral” on the interwebs. A Google search for “Manna Storehouse coop raid” yields 3500 results. The story is being posted or discussed on countless blogs, boards and websites. Here’s one site that’s done a good job of aggregating the available data on the case. And here on the Bovine, this story alone accounted for something like 1,200 hits — and that would be just from yesterday. So it’s definitely a story people care about, even if it’s almost totally ignored by mainstream media. The one local paper that carried the story mentioned nothing about the SWAT team or the family being held at gunpoint.

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Some significant new information came to light about the case on Friday, when journalist David E. Gumpert called Katie Stover and learned that while she and her family were being held at gunpoint in their own home by American authorities, her “head of the household” was serving his country in Iraq. Read David’s excellent analysis here on the Complete Patient Blog titled “Seems U.S. forgot to tell Navy Seabee Chad Stover the real war is being fought here … and he’s the enemy.”

Here’s a little from that report:

“When officers from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio arrived last Monday at the Manna Storehouse food cooperative in LaGrange with weapons drawn and trained on Katie Stowers and her children, along with her in-laws, there was one member of the family missing.

Katie’s husband, Chad, is a U.S. Navy Seabee, helping in construction projects in the midst of combat in Iraq. He’s been there, separated from his family, for the last five months, supposedly protecting our rights from abuse—the sort of abuse that appears to be taking place on an ever-more-frequent basis at farms and food outlets around the country.

I should point out that Katie didn’t broadcast the information about her husband to me—I inquired about it after she had to interrupt our telephone conversation to take a call from Chad in Iraq. Presumably, she was updating him about the raid he missed, in which sheriff’s deputies, together with food inspectors from the Lorain County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, herded the family into a home living room, and kept them under the guard of armed officers for about seven hours, while they executed a search warrant, taking food, cell phones, three computers, and business records. I asked Lorain if she was aware of the irony of her husband putting his life on the line in Iraq, while she was being held at gunpoint in her home by American law enforcement officials, and she said, “It occurred to me.”…”

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Of further interest is the fact that the story was also reported Dec. 3, 2008  in a local newspaper, “The Morning Journal”. Interesting to read their “sanitized” version that sounds a lot like most other newspaper stories — kind of makes one wonder how heavily filtered all the other mainstream news is. Here’s an excerpt from that report, which is titled “Local Food Cooperative Searched by State”:

“PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP — An Ohio Department of Agriculture agent seized food, electronic devices and documents from a Pittsfield Township organic and natural food cooperative believed to be unlicensed, according to a search warrant filed yesterday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Jacqueline and John Stowers, owners of the Manna Storehouse, 43565 SR 303, were inspected in November 2007 by the Lorain County General Health District, according to court records.

On Monday, ODA enforcement agent William Lesho confiscated hundreds of pounds of processed beef and large amounts of lamb, turkey and other perishable products in addition to office files, a computer, two cell phones and other electronic devices, according to the search warrant inventory. The items were taken to establish the Stowers’ ownership in any property, records of hidden wealth or illegal income and anything that would establish illegal activity, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Jacqueline Stowers declined to comment because she had not seen the court papers yesterday evening.

A health district sanitarian and two other inspectors visited the cooperative on Nov. 30, 2007, to make observations and were told to leave. Jacqueline Stowers wrote in a December 2007 letter to the sanitarian that the inspectors never had permission to be on their property and that the Manna Storehouse is not operating a retail food establishment that requires a license.

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