Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Obama Accelerates War on Family Farms; Bank Accounts Seized

The US Food and Drug Administration can’t close down small farms fast enough, bursting on the scene with guns drawn as if selling the natural foods we’ve consumed for millennia deserves SWAT attention. The raids on organic farms selling raw milk have exploded under President Obama; In August, Rawesome foods of Venice California, was raided (for a a second time) by federal agents, and its owner, James Stewart, was arrested and held on $123,000 bail for the crime of selling milk to customers outside of the normal corporate factory-food chain. He was booked for conspiracy to commit a crime, and was not allowed to post a bond to bail himself out of jail.

Sharon Ann Palmer and Eugenie Victoria Bloch of Healthy Family Farms, LCC, were also arrested along with Stewart. Palmer was charged with producing milk without a license or permit since 2007 and selling as a vendor at community farmers markets.
Now, Obama has the Dept. of Justice going after small farmers under the guise of the post-911 “Bank Secrecy Act” which makes it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 if someone earns more than that.

“The level we deposited was what it was and it was about the same every week,” Randy Sowers told Frederick News. The Sowers own and run South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.

Admittedly, when the Sowers earned over $10,000 in February, and learned they’d have to fill out paperwork at the bank to justify such large deposits, they simply rolled the deposits over to the next day to keep them below the none-of-your-fucking-business amount, rather than waste time on bureaucratic red tape aimed at flagging terrorism or other illegal activities.

Unfortunately, the Feds call this “Structuring,” which is the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government.

While being questioned, the Sowers were presented with a seizure order. In fact, the feds had already emptied their bank account of $70,000. The Dept. of Justice has since sued to keep $63,000 of the Sowers’ money, though they have been convicted of no crime.
Without funds, they will be unable to make purchases for the spring planting.
When a similar action was taken against Taylor’s Produce Stand last year, the feds seized $90,000, dropped the charges, and kept $45,000 of Taylor’s money.

Knowing that most farms operate on a razor-thin thin margin, such abuse of power wipes out a family’s income, and for a bonus, the feds enhance the monopoly power of Monsanto and corporate agribusiness. Nationally, the numbers of federal bank seizures and prosecutions are up 8.8 percent from last year, and up 57.1 percent from five years ago.

Of course, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and other criminal banksters are still in operation, despite committing millions of acts of fraud during mortgage games. But the DOJ prioritizes squashing family farmers since it’s easier to pick the low-hanging fruit than do battle with well-financed criminals who’ve illegally seized the homes of millions of US citizens.
Former Maryland assistant U.S. attorney Steven Levin told the Frederick News, “The emphasis is on basically seizing money, whether it is legally or illegally earned. It can lead to financial ruin for business owners, and there’s a potential for abuse here by the government.”

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