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SWAT Team Raids an Ohio Organic Co-Op

By Peacechicken  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/5/08

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Department of Agriculture raids have been occurring in Pennsylvania against horse and buggy Mennonite dairy farmers regularly and for some time. It's getting almost no attention though the farming communities there have been terrorized by the government for doing what they have done for centuries. They came here to live in peace and freedom.

Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers have been desperate to stop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) which the USDA said would be voluntary but the Bush administration in a last minute gift to our disappearing farmers, just made it mandatory by ordering vets to sign people on who bring animals for vaccinations even if they refuse to do so themselves. Those who refuse are given a special number indicating they didn't "volunteer."

And along with NAIS come "premises" ID which looks to be a way of tricking farmers and ranchers into signing away their land as collateral for the bailout. US farmland for US debt to the World Bank. click here. It has been almost impossible to let the urban community understand the truly totalitarian threats occurring RIGHT NOW against our farmers.

Now this ... and perhaps THIS will finally hit home for those who care about their community supported agriculture (CSA) and want real organic food, not industrial food with an "organic" label applied by corporate agriculture which first got the USDA to eliminate its competition - real farmers producing real food.

"...SWAT police, armed for riot control weapons, packing automatic rifles and armored for a terrorist response stormed a family food cooperative in Ohio.

Agents from the State of Ohio Department of Agriculture with the S.W.A.T. team did not give any explanation to the family other than a warrant, did not provide them a phone call, did not charge the family with anything as they burst into their private home. But what they did do was make a big mess, taking over ten thousand dollars of merchandise with them, reported the IVN Bureau Chief."

Here's the most thorough thing I've found so far and it has numbers to call, too. Every CSA member in the country needs to get on the phone.

pictures by one long pee; Slideshow by Laura Laurentslideshowview all 2

SWAT Raids Co-Op in rural Ohio

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Originally published on PeaceChicken.com: Below is an OUTRAGEOUS story of a Cleveland-area rural co-op that was raided by a SWAT team earlier this week for a supposed Ohio Dept. of Agriculture violation. It reeks of police state, lack of Constitutional Rights, and excessive use of force. Unfortunately, this is not a new occurrence, it happens all the time, you just don't hear about it in the news (big surprise.)

The immediate question that comes to mind --- why was the SWAT team used to enforce an alleged Ohio Dept. of Agriculture rule violation? According to the Lorain County Sheriff's SWAT page, they are intended to be used for these reasons:

Hostage Situations: the holding of any person(s) against their will by an armed or potentially armed suspect.

Barricade Situation: the stand-off created by an armed or potentially armed suspect in any location, whether fortified or not, who is refusing to comply with law enforcement demands for surrender.
Sniper Situations: the firing upon citizens and/or law enforcement officers by an armed suspect, whether stationary or mobile.
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High-Risk Apprehension: the arrest or apprehension of armed or potentially armed suspects where the likelihood of armed resistance is high.
High-Risk Warrant Service: the service of search or arrest warrants where the warrant service matrix or policy recommends or requires the use of SWAT.
Personal Protection: the security of special persons, such as VIP's, witnesses, or suspects, based on threat or potential threat to the well being of those persons.
Special Assignments: any assignment, approved by the SWAT Operations Commander, based on a high level of threat and/or need.

Was the private selling of organic food by the Manna Storehouse REALLY one of those instances?

We must stand up for our fellow citizens and refuse to allow a transition from Buckeye State to Police State.* After the story you'll find a list of Cleveland news sources. PLEASE contact them and demand they investigate this story. I strongly believe people would be appropriately outraged if they only knew what was going on.

On Monday, December 1st, a SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home of the Stowers family in LaGrange, Ohio, herded the family onto the couches in the living room, and kept guns trained on parents, children, infants and toddlers, from approximately 11 AM to 8 PM.

The team was aggressive and belligerent. The children were quite traumatized. At some point, the "bad cop" SWAT team was relieved by another team, a "good cop" team that tried to befriend the family. The Stowers family has run a very large, well-known food cooperative called Manna Storehouse on the western side of the greater Cleveland area for many years.

There were agents from the Department of Agriculture present, one of them identified as Bill Lesho. The search warrant is reportedly supicious-looking. Agents began rifling through all of the family's possessions, a task that lasted hours and resulted in a complete upheaval of every private area in the home. Many items were taken that were not listed on the search warrant. The family was not permitted a phone call, and they were not told what crime they were being charged with. They were not read their rights. Over ten thousand dollars worth of food was taken, including the family's personal stock of food for the coming year. All of their computers, and all of their cell phones were taken, as well as phone and contact records. The food cooperative was virtually shut down. There was no rational explanation, nor justification, for this extreme violation of Constitutional rights.

Presumably Manna Storehouse might eventually be charged with running a retail establishment without a license. Why then the Gestapo-type interrogation for a 3rd degree misdemeanor charge? This incident has raised the ominous specter of a restrictive new era in State regulation and enforcement over the nation's private food supply.

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