What was the Rainbow Farm?

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 9-11-11

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network in loving memory of all victims of the tragic events that converged on 9-11-01. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3534

Question of the Week: What was the Rainbow Farm?

Paraphrasing a January 2002 Washington Post article entitled “Was Rainbow Farm another Waco?”, the Rainbow Farm was a …

“34-acre farm and an adjoining 20-acre wood near Vandalia, [Michigan]. [Tom] Crosslin bought the farm … as a place where he and [Rollie] Rohm could escape their urban life. … He turned Rainbow Farm into a campground and began holding pro-pot festivals every Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend.”

On Friday, August 31, 2001,

“the building where bands waited to go onstage — was burning. … A helicopter from WNDU-TV in South Bend, Indiana shooting fire footage for the evening news [was told to] leave because the cops said somebody was shooting at them. … On Sunday, the FBI arrived, more than 50 strong, summoned to the scene because the helicopter shooting was a federal crime … John Bell, head of the FBI’s Detroit office … sent three FBI SWAT teams, each composed of three sharpshooters …

in the woods … at a campsite … two agents fired, one of them shooting Crosslin through the forehead, killing him instantly.”

Early the next day,

“two state police snipers fired from 150 yards away.  One missed.  The other shot through the stock of Rohm’s rifle and into his chest, killing him.”

The Rainbow Farm might have simply been counted among estimated 40,000 paramilitary SWAT raids that occurred in 2001, but in the context of history, it was no ordinary raid.

It was the harbinger of what was to come.

Eight days later on September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airliners, flying two of them into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a Pennsylvania cornfield, killing a total of 2,977 people.

The 9/11 Commission Report released in 2004 found that FBI priorities were

“driven at the local level by the field offices, whose concerns centered on traditional crimes such as white-collar offenses and those pertaining to drugs and gangs. … In 2000, there were still twice as many agents devoted to drug enforcement as to counterterrorism.”

The report concluded,

“In sum, the domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the threat. … The terrorists exploited deep institutional failings.”

Perhaps one failing was the drug war.

These facts and others like them can be found on the Interdiction Chapter of Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org.