Friday, May 30, 2014

Forbes examines the Gibson Guitar raid

If you live in Nashville and pay attention to public events at all, you probably recall the Federal

governmen'ts raid on Gibson guitar.  Gibson was accused of used illegally imported wood in making of some of their guitars. Instead of bureaucrats in suits showing up to ask to see records and discuss the matter, a thirty-man swat team in full battle gear descended on the plant, cleared out the plant, questioned employees without reading them their rights, refused to state the reason for the raid, closed the plant for days, and confiscated wood. 

I have no way of knowing, of course, if some of the imported wood was imported with phony papers and, if it was, I have no way of knowing if Gibson Guitar knowingly or unknowingly purchased the illegal wood. The case was settled without charges ever being brought against Gibson.  In my view, the guilt or innocence of Gibson makes no difference. In America, we do not expect to be raided by a force of heavily armed men in battle gear for a minor non-violent infraction of some law. One does not have to be a tin-foil-hat-wearing worrier about FEMA concentration camps to be concerned about the militarization of the American government.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of agencies of the government with their own little armies. The Fish and Wildlife Agency, Social Security, EPA, Bureau of Land Management and most agencies do not need to have their own swat teams under their command.  If an agency has SWAT teams they will find occasion to sue them.

 Forbes magazine examines the SWAT team raid on Gibson Guitar and the issue surrounding that raid in this article: 

Lumber Union Protectionists Incited SWAT Raid On My Factory, Says Gibson Guitar CEO 

“Henry. A SWAT team from Homeland Security just raided our factory!”

“What? This must be a joke.”

“No this is really serious. We got guys with guns, they put all our people out in the parking lot and won’t let us go into the plant.”


What is happening?” asks Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz when he arrives at his Nashville factory to question the officers.

“We can’t tell you.”

What are you talking about, you can’t tell me, you can’t just come in and …”

“We have a warrant!”  

Well, lemme see the warrant.”

“We can’t show that to you because it’s sealed.”

While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. (link)

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