Pot Growers High on List of Terrorist Threats–Federal Agencies Spend Well Over $500,000 in an Exercise to Defend Against Them
In response to the chilling possibility that pot growers pose a terrorist threat, twenty Federal Agencies prepared for the fearsome farmers of the Emerald Triangle taking over the Shasta Dam this last Wednesday. In a move surely inspired by paranoid fantasies, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Critical Infrastructure Crisis Response Exercise Program spent 18 months and $500, 000 planning and executing this likely scenario–and that’s not counting the money and time spent by the other 19 agencies.
More than 250 people took part in a scenario described by the Redding Searchlight as beginning with those aggressive guerrilla gardeners
… taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison. Holding three people hostage, they threatened to flood the Sacramento River by rolling open the drum gates atop the dam. Those gates hold back the nearly full lake.
To show their seriousness in the drill, the [growers] twice pretended to release water from the dam. Each of the dam’s three drum gates can release up to 66,000 cubic feet per second when the dam is full…
Did the feds catch the crazed cannabis criminals when they stopped for their 4:20 toke?
Preparing for a terrorist takeover of dams may be a sensible precaution. Casting the thousands of peaceful farmers who provide the economic basis for this region as terrorists is a foolish waste of time and energy that could better be spent on preparing for a less ludicrous and unlikely event.
Is this an effort by the federal government to demonize growers. They have taken an increasingly hostile tone toward our local industry. According to SpyTalk, a Washington Post blog, in 2005 there is no mention of growers in a catalog of terrorist threats, but in August The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program declared,
“The increasing involvement of highly organized drug trafficking organizations protecting their investment or competing for territory and market share has elevated the dangers surrounding cannabis growing from ‘pot users merely growing their stash’ to…a ‘marijuana war.'”
Attitudes such as this explain the FBI expanding out of its small Eureka office to the spacious third floor of the Fortuna Preston Center.
UPDATE: Heraldo has a thread on this here.
UPDATE2: Eric has a thread on this also here.
Photo from the Redding Searchlight.