Operation Pipe Dreams Is a Nightmare

Operation Pipe Dreams Is a Nightmare
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2003 at 11:45:54 PT
By Debra McCorkle, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
I'd like to direct Mr. Brown to the Web site of of Aloha, Oregon. Not only will they sell me a gun silencer, there is an entire page devoted to explicit directions on how to obtain the necessary paperwork and background check in order to allow me to purchase a silencer online. I have to be at least 21 and innocent of any felony crime. One credit card payment and a little paperwork and I can blow someone's head off with a minimum of personal hearing damage.
Of course John Brown, of the Drug Enforcement Agency, has little interest in guns and murder outside of the world of drug dealing. In the last couple of days, however, he has overseen the arrest of at least 55 people whose only stated crime was the manufacture and selling of tobacco accessories. His equation of bong-makers with drug traffickers is ludicrous at best, and his apparent indifference to the legal sale of silencers across America makes him a hypocrite caught in his own words. This action, known as Operation Pipe Dreams, is part of a continuing effort on the the part of Attorney General John Ashcroft to rid our land of the ability to smoke weed with a little style. In the past 10 years the pipemaking industry took an art class and began to integrate aesthetics into the production line. Handblown glass pipes began as a one-of-a-kind art form created usually by twentysomethings with talent and time on their hands. Over the years pipes became amazingly elaborate, with high-end waterpipes evolving into colorful gothic cathedrals. Simple $20 spoon-shaped pocket handpipes became the common smoking apparatus of choice, replacing decades of utilitarian metal and acrylic. However, the powers-that-be want a return to the paraphernalia stone age. If the DEA has its way, that loathsome scum of an American subculture who still dare to believe that smoking various herbal substances is their own damned business will be forced back into stealing plumbing screens from their faucets and emptying out plastic honey bears in order to fashion crude waterpipes a la Brad Pitt in the movie "True Romance." Pepsi cans and beer bottles will be pulled out of trashcans, aquarium tubing will be purchased at Wal-Mart, and lamp parts from Home Depot will turn into pipe bowls for the waterpipes that will be Rube Goldberged into existence. Americans have been given the distinct impression that our federal budget is strapped for cash and that we need all resources to ferret out the terrorists in our midst. It seems a waste of resources to carry out Operation Pipe Dreams in order to ensure that 55 pipesellers will no longer be on the streets while terrorist cells await their orders in the heartland of America. Doesn't Ashcroft have better things to do? What about those darned silencers all over the internet? In the meantime, lives are being ruined. Many if not most paraphernalia dealers are under 40 years old and guiltier of being young and nave than of being dangerous. If forfeiture occurs there may not be enough money for their families to hire top-notch lawyers. In a recent conviction Chris Hill of Chills Pipes was sentenced to one year at the Eglin prison facility, and Hill was one of the wealthier pipe manufacturers in the U.S. Pipe dealers have not made their profits from stealing or acts of violence. It is an odd choice on the part of the U.S. government to convict young entrepenuers and house them in prisons at great taxpayer expense. Over at there's a virtual cornucopia of submachine guns, some with silencers, some without. There's an HK MP5 A3 machine gun transferable 9mm in excellent condition on sale for $8,800. Oh darn, it's got a "Sold" sign by the price. The top of the page states: "Machine guns are a specialty here at Impact. They are very easy to purchase and are a great investment." If only our forefathers had the insight to put in an amendment for smoking accessories right there with the right to bear arms. Maybe then John Ashcroft and his DEA buddies could just sit around the fire with Tommy Chong and the other paraphernalia company owners, and their only pipe dreams would be world peace. People selling drug paraphernalia are in essence no different than drug dealers. They are as much a part of drug trafficking as silencers are a part of criminal homicide.  John Brown, acting DEA chief  Debra McCorkle is a shopowner living in the mountains of North Carolina.Newshawk: VirgilSource: AlterNetAuthor: Debra McCorkle, AlterNetPublished: February 25, 2003Copyright: 2003 Independent Media InstituteContact: info Website: Articles:Raids Take WoD's To Higher Level of Absurdity Makers Free On Own Recognizance Opens New Front in Decades Old Conflict
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Comment #9 posted by When Worlds Collide on July 11, 2003 at 21:49:42 PT:
The Federal Government should stay away from State
I was busted in '98 in Eugene Oregon for running a grow-op from my 3 bedroom home on Cross st.(1 of those 3 was actually a bedroom).
 They happened to bust me the same day I was going to begin harvesting the super skunk and 4-way(The Trinity and shiva was to be ready 3-4 days later). 
I realized something was wrong when I read the paperwork indicating that the crop had been partially harvested....Good Going Eugene I-NET...Y'all have shown your true colors. As if taking my freedom wasn't enough, then you "help" yourselves out by stealing part of MY crop for your own personal use....I hope it molded before you had the chance to enjoy it.
After 21 months of being babysat by the State of Oregon I thought that things would be running a little smoother.
If the state don't get you then the federals will. A new verse in the wheel. Why do we have a state government if the feds are so insane about ripping us off of our rights? Welcome to Fascist America... Much respect Brother Jason.  
Love to Eugene, Eric
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 26, 2003 at 19:39:26 PT
Look What I Found
I never have gotten anything thru E-Bay but I went and typed in hookah and got all kinds of information.
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on February 26, 2003 at 19:19:28 PT
Saturday Night Live
They've used bongs as props recently along with a bunch of cannabis related humor. I wonder if they'll make mention of this stupid stunt?Some local stores are still open selling their wares despite ashcroft. Drop in and put a little green in their pockets. I did! :-)Bud Green
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on February 26, 2003 at 18:25:58 PT
What a shame, check out Barnes & Nobles. Also, check out Middle Eastern speciality shops if you are hooka shopping. These would be decor items, of course.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 26, 2003 at 17:19:01 PT
freedom fighter 
Thanks for sharing your story. In our state it is worse to get caught with Paraphernalia then Cannabis. I believe it's a $250 fine for Paraphernalia and a $100 fine for under 100 grams of Cannabis. There aren't any shops that I've seen since the 70s. You wouldn't dare get High Times Magazine in the mail either I don't think. My husband went to a porn shop and found one. When he called the Boutique that was a head shop years ago they said of course we don't carry High Times. He told my husband he would have to go to the porn shop. 
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Comment #4 posted by freedom fighter on February 26, 2003 at 17:02:17 PT
FoM, remind me of a story
I had this hookah sitting in my closet when I got raided. This cop found it and he looked at it. He saw this brownish(swag weed) thing in the bowl. He quietly put it back in the closet.See how stupid this has become?? I assumed the cop thought I had tobbacco in the hookah.. ff
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Comment #3 posted by darwin on February 26, 2003 at 12:43:49 PT
This is a PR move for the DEA
If you read the DEA Watch, you'll see that the DEA folks know that the only point to this was as a DEA PR move. 
Mr. Brown needs to appear to be lighting a fire under their asses after their poor report card from the White House.
They understand the uselessness of this move and don't care. They just wanted to get in the news quick and then get back out. I bet they don't even charge Chong. Put him in a court and the absudity is amplified, as he would attrack media attention. However, the other guys like Chris Hills aren't household names, so they lose their stuff and are prosecuted.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on February 26, 2003 at 12:21:31 PT
Interesting one
My impression of the whole glass explosion was that it was a direct result of high-potency, indoor cannabis. Instead of a huge joint, people only needed 1 or 2 hits of cannabis. The herb is very expensive, and a joint will waste a high percentage of it. A glass bowl will waste virtually no smoke, and there is no screen to clog with resin.  Among young people, it's extremely rare to see someone rolling/smoking a joint.Does anyone seriously believe that this is going to kill the glass pipe industry? There are hordes of blowers in Vermont, and I didn't see anyone getting busted up there........
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 26, 2003 at 11:53:47 PT
How The Raids Make Me Feel
It's interesting how these busts have made me think. I never owned a Hookah but always thought they were pretty. Now with all the hoopla I wish I could own one as a decoration and conversation piece. The more they do what they do the more people begin to think differently it seems.
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