The Panic Hour Holds a “False Flag” Shutdown Smokedown – Your Tax Dollars at Work

*See end for an update in response to commentary

Today activists who have participated in Smokedown Prohibition events at Independence Mall announced they would gather there at 4:20 P.M. for another installment of the demonstration against marijuana criminalization which has as its primary mode of action publicly smoking pot. This demonstration was spontaneous, announced around 9:30 this morning on Facebook, inspired by the furlough of government employees which would include US Park Rangers responsible for enforcing federal law on the historic Independence Mall property. At 4:20 the assembled activists, facing some 50 law enforcement officers on the site including around 20 Rangers, thanked the federal employees for demonstrating the government’s willingness to expend resources monitoring social media and policing pot smokers. They then left without lighting a joint, to smoke another place and day (they are threatening another gathering tomorrow).

Shutdown Smokedown announcement "meme" posted to facebook

Shutdown Smokedown announcement “meme” posted to Facebook

Rangers and demonstrators at around 4:20

Rangers and demonstrators at around 4:20. Photo by Kenneth Lipp

Rangers waiting for 4:20. Photo by Kenneth Lipp

Rangers waiting for 4:20. Photo by Kenneth Lipp

Screenshot from 2013-10-01 17:27:00

Scott Gacek of the Daily Chronic, who announced the event, tells me about what he calls their “False Flag” operation:

Update 10/5:

We received a comment from “Merry” noting what is certainly a discrepancy between the number of law enforcement officers reported as on the scene and those pictured in this article. The comment:

Screenshot from 2013-10-05 10:31:28

The number 50 is an aggregate sum inferred from observed Philadelphia Police Department “Strike Force” officers on bicycles, Civil Affairs also from the PPD, PPD Inspector Joe Sullivan, and US Park Service Rangers on site between 3:45 PM and 4:30. The Strike Force hung back; Inspector Sullivan stated previously that his officers had standing orders of non-interference barring violence/violent mass resistance of Rangers (presumably fleeing onto City property as well).

More photos of the scene:

Rangers waiting for 4:20. Photo by Kenneth Lipp - note US Attorney R. Goldberg background left

Rangers waiting for 4:20. Photo by Kenneth Lipp – note US Attorney R. Goldberg background left

Photo by Kenneth Lipp

Photo by Kenneth Lipp

PPD "Strike Force" on bikes. Photo by Kenneth Lipp

PPD “Strike Force” on bikes. Photo by Kenneth Lipp


Photo by Kenneth Lipp

Photo by Kenneth Lipp

As no other local press was on site (a Philly Weekly article from Randy LoBasso cited sources and The Declaration’s post), we also used unaffiliated social media sources to verify. See:

@PhillyCtWatcher’s Tweet:

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

There are 10 comments

  1. Michelle

    False flag event is where you plan something to happen, but it either doesn’t and wastes resources or it happens and then their is many deaths, in this case it means that they planned a smoke down that they really didn’t do. In order to see if the police that are suppose to be furloughed would show up, so the few that was keep on for security purposes instead of making sure that nothing else was being done illegally wasted their time and resources chasing after a false lead of pot smokers. It also goes to show that the government is spying on social media. This was planned at 9:30 this morning so that was quick to have 50 of them on hand to do nothing. haha


  2. discgolfdc

    Incorrect. What you describe might be known more accurately as a “false alarm.”

    A “false flag” is an operation that is intended to throw observers off the trail from who actually carried out the operation, e.g., the U.S. government wants to accelerate its descent into fascism, so it secretly rigs very important buildings in New York City with explosives and coordinates flights to plow into same buildings to make it look like a terrorist attack (and, thus, the reason for the buildings’ being brought down), and the attack is blamed on al-Qaeda and its harboring nations. It’s a form of scapegoating.


  3. Adam William Majkowski

    Looks like the same bunch of losers that always show up to hand out tickets for smoking pot. How can they afford to pay park rangers to stalk pot smokers when the government is shut down? Stalking pot smokers is considered “Essential personnel?” Apparently they are being very selective with the furloughs and not making much sense about it either.


      1. Kenneth Lipp

        Merry, thanks for your comment, I’m pleased to clarify. As said in the post about 50 LEO s were present, these were local police in addition to approximately 20 US Park Rangers. The close interaction and history concern largely the later. We’ll update this post soon to reflect the details.


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