Friday, August 1st, 2008

Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project sends the photo below. It’s from a series of L.A. Times photos from a federal raid on a medical marijuana clinic in California. I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from it. But it is a little disconcerting.

MORE: I’m not implying Blackwater is doing actual federal drug policing in the U.S. (though they’re doing plenty of drug war mercenary work overseas). As far as I know, that wouldn’t be legal. But given what the group is doing overseas, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with them training drug agents for work here at home, either.

UPDATE: Well now that’s interesting. The L.A. Times has pulled the photo from its website.

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

55 Responses to “Hmm…”

  1. #1 |  Mikestermike | 

    Want to wear a ponytail at work?
    Want to look cool with the latest in modern weaponry and gadgets?
    Want to terrorize your local citizenry and neighbors?
    Want a guaranteed job as long as a Republican is in office somewhere?
    Join Blackwater today!

  2. #2 |  DJB | 

    Blackwater has multiple courses for military and police. The shirt doesnt necessarily imply that he is a blackwater contractor.

  3. #3 |  Joe | 

    Probably for the same reason credit card companies give out t-shirts/coozies/etc. at college campuses when they have a table to get students to sign up for credit cards.

    “Hey, officer _____ – how are ya, buddy? How’s the DEA treating you? Look, I don’t know what you’re pulling down there, but if you ever want to change careers, give me a call – and by the way – here’s a t-shirt. I’ll talk to you soon!”

  4. #4 |  Wade | 

    To add on to what DJB said, Blackwater does have a “pro-shop” at their training center, and their training center trains a lot of federal and local law enforcement from all across the country. Agencies that send folks to train there run the gamut from the US Coast Guard to the Beaufort County SC Sheriff’s department.

    You can learn a lot from their website,

  5. #5 |  PC | 

    The photo has been pulled.

  6. #6 |  JD | 

    Yeah, it’s just a t-shirt

    That’s why it was very quickly pulled from the LA Times site.

    This is HUGE. please Digg it !

  7. #7 |  BloodyMaryBreakfast | 

    What photo?

  8. #8 |  Karl | 

    What a douche.

    Seriously, does he think he’s saving the world from evil?

    What a douche.

  9. #9 |  kinyahbrutha | 

    i like that the MPP guy’s name is Mirken…

    get it ? Mirken…


  10. #10 |  The Brown Acid | 

    From a distance, that logo looks like a bullseye.

  11. #11 |  Cappy | 

    If Blackwater is under the employ of the federal government and performing duties under the direction of the federal government, would this not mean that the state now has it’s own private standing army?

    Not that any number of federal law enforcement agencies already are a standing army to be used against the populace at the discretion of the state.

  12. #12 |  Karachi USA § Unqualified Offerings | 

    […] Radley Balko spots Blackwater tees on the torsos of agents raiding a medical-marijuana facility in California. That puts me in mind of things the Stiftung Leo Strauss used to write about the depth and breadth […]

  13. #13 |  Red Green | 

    Is the guy “Blackwater” ,officially ,or not? If he is, then how much more militaization of police forces is coming to the USA? My guess is plenty more. Think of it , private(corporate) military police, invading neighborhoods all over the country. This is not what WE are all about…or is it just the new reality?

  14. #14 |  Handbasket meet Hell | 

    Wait, as long as they don’t get immunity from war crimes, (like in Iraq), we might actually be able to hold private warriors responsible for shooting mothers dead who are holding their baby in their arms.

    Lord knows we haven’t been able to hold public servants accountable for any of their actions. “I was trained to live in complete fear of civilians. I was in fear of my life”, so you can’t convict me for murdering… err… I mean, shooting that woman… err… I mean, that human.

    Not that I think we should have any of these gangs of murderous thugs terrorizing our streets. [Yes, I include all (dot)gov drug warriors, and 99% of all SWAT deployments in that mix.]

  15. #15 |  ron | 

    It may be a new reality around us, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it within us.

  16. #16 |  ynotdiveinn | 

    Check out this story from 2007:

    Contractors take on expanded role in drug war

    By Katherine McIntire Peters
    September 12, 2007

    Excerpt: “In response to specific task orders issued under the indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract, companies will develop and deploy new surveillance technologies, train and equip foreign security forces and provide key administrative, logistical and operational support to Defense and other agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

  17. #17 |  Will | 

    Could be just a wannbe, you can buy these shirts on ebay. Why he would wannbe I have no clue.

  18. #18 |  Andy Craig | 

    It’s certainly more than plausible that a DEA agent might have a Blackwater t-shirt, but I find it somewhat less plausible that he would be wearing it while armed and on duty.

  19. #19 |  Rich Hudson | 

    This is why the war on drugs is so important to the American fascist movement: drugs can be used as an excuse to jail anyone (such as activists investigating stolen elections) and are a great excuse to establish the precedent of using the executive branch’s private army (Blackwater) against American citizens.

  20. #20 |  Jimbo | 

    It’s a fairly common shirt (or at least I’ve seen several people wearing them). He could well be a DEA agent.

    Now why someone would want to wear a shirt advertising a fascist organization and why the DEA would allow thier agents to wear one is a different matter entirely.

    Would they allow him to wear a Nazi shirt? How about one with a KGB logo?

    Seems to me that he doesn’t seem to be very professional. Maybe the DEA doesn’t mind being portrayed as bullies and thugs.

  21. #21 |  Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind! | 

    […] Friday, August 1, The Agitator blog posted the following: “Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project sends the photo […]

  22. #22 |  Frank N Stein | 

    I think it’s just a show of professional respect. Imagine a Mafia hit man wearing a t-shirt with an image of Lon Horiuchi on it. This is a federal government thug, not a private contractor thug. Regardless, it’s someone willing to use force to uphold an unconstitutional (and immoral) law against people buying a plant. A plant. Why this doesn’t offend the sensibilities of more people, I don’t think I’ll understand.

  23. #23 |  Keith T. Syverson | 

    United States Of America, 1789-2000 R.I.P.

  24. #24 |  James | 

    Reminder that no matter what you think, these people (Blackwater) are fighting for the freedoms that you take for granted. Shame on you for calling yourselves Americans when you insult the very freedoms that were put in place by fighting for them. You call them mercenaries. I call them brothers, fellow Americans, and heroes. You go take a bullet to defend your country, instead of sitting behind a keyboard ranting like cowards. Although, that is your American right.
    By the way, Blackwater doesn’t wear Blackwater t-shirts when they work. They are a professional organization that prides themselves on maintaining a professional image. This may be a show of support for fellow Americans working overseas to defend OUR country.

  25. #25 |  Dj Emmanuel | 

    yeah, you guys up at the top of the comment section are missing the point. whether it is a private military group, or a publicly paid one, who cares. whoever is doing it is probably receiving government money. the fact remains that they are using guns to scare health practitioners and more or less stealing marijuana from its rightful owners and putting it into the hands of people that have no idea or authority about how to use marijuana for healing purposes.

    the government is not an authority on marijuana. why do we allow them to act as one? why do we even listen? if i had a medical marijuana facility and got busted by these crooks and thugs, id sue the state for all damages to the facility, lost assets, pain and suffering, last wages and profits, plus id poses a few criminal charges on the police/dea for kidnapping if they arrest me, theft, etc. not that it will do much to prevent jailtime, a record should be made of your fight. karma will come back to where it came from.

    its sad, that this type of thing happens all the time, on larger and smaller scales. governments as organizations fail us when they attempt to control how we live our lives, and when we allow them to. Fuck them. No one has ever died of a Marijuana overdose. its safer to smoke pot than it is to cross the fucking street when the walk sign says walk. we have a choice to obey or not to obey the governments rules. the only way to overturn some rules is to vagrantly disobey them, and to stand up for the reasons why we make the best choices we can possibly make. we should be able to defend our lives and our decisions when terrorists such as the DEA attempt to fuck with us. This is a lesson to watch yourself if you are doing something illegal, you better have a good reason to complain about in a jail cell and maybe a good book in your head to write while you fill the time. also a good idea to reject american laws that seem wrong from the start. the government of the usa has way too much momentum in their court, if they dont change the way they enforce laws and repeal them, the government itself will fail, and when governments fail, new organizations rise to fulfill the duty of protecting and nurturing our citizens. if you want to do something positive, join a positive organization, or start one. live on your toes, and know when enough is enough. ignore all laws that seem to ignore the real ones. the real laws are: 1) Live and Let Live .. and 2) Love and Let Love. its obvious that the DEA and the government is breaking these laws everyday.

  26. #26 |  Concerned | 

    Nearly all of your replies to this are amazingly ignorant. There is no cross-section of society represented in this list of comments, only a hateful, ignorant group that is just as close to fascism as the people you so malevolently describe. You think you are the opposite, but you are just as angry and ill-willed at these types as they are at you.

    The bottom line is this: you are posting your comments without knowing what this individuals story is, and evidently uninformed of how security companies, paramilitary companies, etc. operate.

    Contrary to what some believe, this story is not “HUGE!” it is commonplace. Blackwater and many other paramilitary organizations (including foreign-based organizations e.g. Israeli Shooting Institute) operate within U.S. borders quite frequently. It shouldn’t scare you that we are moving towards a smaller, more proficient, and experienced military system. It will someday mean we don’t have to have a huge military stocked with inexperienced young people.

    Contrary to what some others believe, every state does have a private standing army – controlled by that state and not the federal government. It’s called the National Guard. Those soldiers are U.S. Army and they live near and around you, blending in with average society. Do you loathe them just as much? I’ll go ahead and make my closing statement just as ignorant as yours by saying that you probably do.

  27. #27 |  John M. | 

    yeah, um, thanks Blackwater shirt dude for protecting my freedoms by terrorizing sick people.

  28. #28 |  Paul M Peterson » Blog Archive » The State of the Police State | 

    […] contracted it’s enforcement duties out to Blackwater. This is creepy. According to the Agitator, The photo shown below was taken during a […]

  29. #29 |  Is the DEA Contracting Blackwater? | Alternative News Sources | 

    […] Friday, August 1, The Agitator blog posted the following: “Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project sends the photo below. […]

  30. #30 |  The Brown Acid | 

    #24, #25, #26 are all sock puppets of the same person.

    I hope Mr. Prince is paying you more than minimum wage – otherwise you’re selling your dignity at way too low of a price…

    Then again, maybe not.

  31. #31 |  The Brown Acid | 

    Err my apologies, #25 is not a sock puppet. My bad :|

    Only #24 and #26 need be completely ignored.

  32. #32 |  organica | 

    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

  33. #33 |  nemo | 

    The question remains: what association does the person wearing the Blackwater T-shirt have with the Federal agents? And why was the photo removed from the LAT’s site?

    If the person wearing that T-shirt is indeed a Blackwater employee, then does this mean that the DEA does not have enough personnel to conduct these raids? That they have to contract out their operations to freelancers? And do those freelancers have the same legal protection that the Fed agents do?

    If the freelancers are being paid as much or more than the DEA agents, then can this actually be justified as a matter of economics? Or is there another agenda, afoot?

  34. #34 |  witless chum | 

    Whatever, James. If you’re going to claim that contracting to provide private security in Iraq is defending my freedoms, than I’ll just claim that goofing off on the internet at work and drinking coffee are defending my freedoms.

    It’s equally plausible, so why not? I can have my caffeine AND now a keen sense of righteousness.

  35. #35 |  James | 

    I’m not going to argue opinions here. I am just defending my statement. Blackwater protects some of the worlds highest ranking VIP’s, in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Regardless of their association with an organization, they are still out there fighting to protect us.
    Brown Acid, call me a sock puppet, but I am concerned that you can not accept that title yourself. You are nothing more than an uninformed person. Do some more research before putting out such a statement.
    Witless chum, your statement makes no sense at all. Have you ever spoken with anyone that works overseas or do you rely on CNN and Fox News to provide you with honest, non-biased information. Go back to drinking your coffee and “goofing off” on the internet. It may be the closest thing you have to feeling important.

  36. #36 |  James | 

    Oh, and will someone verify that this is indeed a Blackwater agent? This whole thing is based off speculation from some guy in a t-shirt. I don’t believe this is a Blackwater agent. I think it is a DEA agent in a Blackwater shirt.

  37. #37 |  Psuke | 

    Why is he wearing it, period? If he is a member of the DEA, why is he not in the same khaki uniform as the other officers in the background?

  38. #38 |  The Brown Acid | 

    Shorter Version of James’ Position:

    “Blah blah freedom™ blah blah democracy™ blah surge™ blah blah fighting them there™ blah blah bring em on™ blah”

    Seriously dude, you should hire a midget to follow you around with a boombox that plays the national anthem on repeat at full blast volume. Wave a flag as you walk to really drive the point home.


  39. #39 |  xyz123 | 

    to grudgingly give blackwater mercenaries, and their jock-sniffing groupies, their due, i suspect they’ve killed *far* fewer american citizens in drug raids than have the brave warriors of the DEA/FBI.

    the raid in question managed to not kill any 13-year-old boys; or dogs; or unarmed women holding babies. so they’re one up right there.

  40. #40 |  The Brown Acid | 

    LOL Xyz123… Jock sniffers…I was going to say sycophants, but jock sniffers is way more appropriate.

  41. #41 |  Hangnail | 

    If he is DEA he needs to be in DEA colors, and not sporting some other t-shirt. And if he isn’t DEA or some other government agency he doesn’t belong there. So something is wrong, maybe just a violation of dress code. Maybe more, but if its just the dress code he’s putting lives at risk. And if not, then Blackwater is moving into new markets. I’m not interested in paying for the kings men.

  42. #42 |  Concerned | 

    So I gave it 24 hours to see a few more responses, but I guess the majority of commentators here are just like the majority of people in the world: willfully ignorant. That includes both sides of the argument – those who are making the generic “protecting our freedom” statements, and those anti-fascist-fascists.

  43. #43 |  The Brown Acid | 

    So, Concerned, #42, feel free to take your smug ass out of here so you don’t have to lower yourself to conversing with us willfully ignorant types.


  44. #44 |  brob | 

    all you who don’t think he’s a merc, look at that stupid goatee. DEA don’t wear goatees, but it’s a blackwater badge of honor.

  45. #45 |  Spook And Muffin’s Relaxed Politics » The Narc Is A Merc! | 

    […] Times story has drawn more attention than anything else. That picture, which has now been widely reproduced at blogs, shows a long-haired man, wearing a Blackwater tshirt and with a pistol at his belt, […]

  46. #46 |  Gun Lover | 

    He almost certainly picked up the shirt at a training course. Anyone can take almost all of their gun courses. There is no requirement of the same uniform for the police; the badge is the uniform, particularly for plain clothes.

    Blackwater has some awesome training. Combat carbine, tactical sniper, advanced pistol, etc. They have awesome shoot houses, great facilities, and instructors who have been out on the two way range. It’s a real asset and a great tribute to capitalism that Mr. Prince has built this organization up to what it is.

    I honestly don’t understand the hostility to Blackwater. I thought libertarians are for privatizing things. In your dream anarchist world, wouldn’t guys like Blackwater be the guys with all the money and chicks. You see, without a government, small, armed, well trained, and organized groups tend to set up their own little mini-fiefdoms and do what the hell they want. So you may want to think about that before you take down the state and replace it with wishful thinking. 100 disorganized rednecks with Real Tree overalls would be no match for a squad of Blackwater guys.

  47. #47 |  Worth 1,000 words … « ludditerobot | 

    […] picture was subsequently removed from the site shortly after […]

  48. #48 |  Iniquitous | 

    But this exact t-shirt for $13.00!

  49. #49 |  ash | 

    For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.
    Thomas Jefferson

    So Blackwater and Washington cronies are the exact opposite of this…. In short, we have no militia (that could protect this coop), and they train their private armies to terrorize us and pay for it with our own taxes!!!!

    The reason why Blackwater exists is because we (i meant elite and bankers) are involved in empire building and drug wars around the world (not to mention submission of our own states) …. Take these away and Blackwater and their training courses (where the probably charge astonishing amounts of money) will be irrelevant.

    as #46 properly noticed “100 disorganized rednecks with Real Tree overalls would be no match for a squad of Blackwater guys.” Suppose I am one of these (educated) “rednecks” w/o professional weapons training, and if i were to use my gun to protect my state and freedoms, they will kill me and the rest of the freedom fighters who would want to stand to these bullies. Thank you Blackwater for their fancy training.

  50. #50 |  Is the DEA hiring Blackwater to raid patients? - Orange Punch - | 

    […] a pistol at his belt and a Blackwater T-shirt. (The Times later pulled the photo but it’s all over the blogosphere.) Does that mean the DEA is now hiring the private paramilitary outfit that the Iraqi government […]

  51. #51 |  Blackwater « Moshe & Mordechai blog | 

    […] ? Începe?i s? cerceta?i aici. Apoi mai afla?i câte ceva aici. Pe urm? tot ar mai fi ceva de aflat de aici. ?i tot nu ?ti?i mare […]

  52. #52 |  Ed | 

    James@24: “You go take a bullet to defend your country,”……

    James, what kind of fool takes a bullet to defend an abstract?

  53. #53 |  Edward | 

    To all of you who think there is no militia left.. .dont ever forget about your states national guard. we are the militia. we are the minutemen of yesterday. The DIRECT descendents. Citizen Soldiers with families and lives other than the military. We are brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and so on who risk our lives to keep our family and freinds safe. Dont be fooled it is not for the country or government but for our families. Blackwater is filling in holes so good men and women can come home and see there children laugh or their spouse cry in joy. You put way to high a value on your own skin that you dont stop to think about the hard work and dedication all of these people have endured. Marijuana is looked down upon because it causes a lack of judgement. Just like getting drunk. How much do you want to bet that not everyone who was getting weed at that location needed it. how do you know it just wasnt a front for drugs like lcd or heroine. maybe that raid just saved a baby still inside of her crack head mother. Stop and really step back before you say anything and if you cant do that than dont speak at all. Good day

  54. #54 |  Is the DEA Contracting Blackwater? : Federal Jack | 

    […] Friday, August 1, The Agitator blog posted the following: “Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project sends the photo […]

  55. #55 |  Blackwater Mercenaries Are Working With The DEA On Medical Marijuana Raids | Disinformation | 

    […] GO TO FULL STORY […]