Reader Ben wants readers to know about a Stand with Gibson Guitars rally in Nashville, TN coming up on October 8.
If you are in or near the area, don’t miss it.
What: A Rally and Free Concert to show our support for Gibson Guitar
When: Saturday Oct 8 2-4PM
Where: Parking Lot of the Scoreboard Restaurant, Nashville (MAP)
Why: Federal agents raided two Gibson factories in August and confiscated part of the production inventory of this 100 year old American Manufacturer and Employer. This abuse of federal power must not go unanswered. We, the citizens who grant government its power and authority, MUST act to hold government accountable when that power is abused. Please join us on Oct 8 in Nashville and Stand with Gibson.
The latest on the company’s fight? A scheduled meeting between the guitar maker and the feds was canceled last week. The DOJ sent a letter to TN GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn assuring her that guitar owners who unknowingly possessed guitars using wood deemed illegal by the Obama administration would not be prosecuted. But why the continued witch hunt against instrument makers?
The letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich and Christopher J. Mansour, director of legislative affairs at Interior, said those who “unknowingly possess” an instrument made from illegally imported materials don’t have a criminal problem.
“I am glad to see administration officials stating on the record that they won’t treat unsuspecting musicians as criminals,” Blackburn said in a statement.
But Blackburn added that she doesn’t understand why the same “unknowing” standard isn’t applied to instrument makers like Gibson.
An affidavit supporting the search warrant for the recent raids alleged that shipments of imported Indian ebony and rosewood were given false labels to circumvent import restrictions. Juszkiewicz has denied wrongdoing and complained that the federal government has implicated Gibson, which also manufacturer Baldwin pianos, without filing charges.
A meeting between Juszkiewicz and federal prosecutors scheduled for Wednesday was delayed, and the company also canceled a press conference the same day that was to announce a new mahogany deal with Fiji.
The letter to Blackburn said the federal agencies can’t provide specifics of an ongoing investigation to Congress.
“I will continue to hold the Obama Administration’s feet to the fire until we receive more adequate answers,” Blackburn said.
The armed raids against the music-makers have still not been fully explained.
Over 20,000 have signed a petition to the White House to drop the federal investigation:
The federal officials claim that Gibson violated the Lacey Act, which stipulates that a company cannot import wood in a manner that’s against the laws of the country the wood is coming from. However, Gibson has complied with Indian law and no concerns have been raised by the Indian government.
“Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.”
Juszkiewicz believes that the Justice Department is bullying Gibson without filing charges. This is the second time Gibson has been raided by the federal government (the first was in 2009), yet no charges have been filed and the materials confiscated on both occasions remain in federal hands.
Gibson is reaching out to all Gibson Guitar fans, Gibson Guitar dealers, artists, musicians, members of the media, bloggers, politicians and anyone who loves the guitar to sign this petition and demand:
*The current investigation of Gibson will be stopped and brought to a fair and conclusive settlement
*The Lacey Act will be amended to provide clear guidance on how corporations can comply
*Consumers will not be prosecuted for owning or transporting instruments for their own use
“Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights,” Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”