Apparently the Department of Justice is going after Gibson Guitars for their use of imported woods. It appears that foreign law might have been broken although no evidence has been provided.
Is this part of the Obama Jobs Plan?
Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., has responded to the August 24 raid of Gibson facilities in Nashville and Memphis by the Federal Government. In a press release, Juszkiewicz said: “Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”
The raids forced Gibson to cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents executed the search warrants. “Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” 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.
“The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.”
In his August 25 press conference Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp states: “Over the last two years, we have hired 580 American workers. Just in the last two years. We are one company manufacturing in the United States that’s hiring people, that is succeeding exporting, and yet the government is spending millions of dollars on this issue.”
Randy Ferrell, a final assembly worker at Gibson, says that the raids make him very concerned about lay-offs and that the company may be forced to close its doors because “If they take our wood away and we can’t work our ownership has no choice.”
Guitarist Jimmy Vivino from Late Night With Conan O’Brien also expresses his concerns at the raids, viewing them “like a bad movie where federal marshals stormed the Gibson factory with guns drawn.”
Federal Bureaucracy is Out of hand
Federal Bureaucracy is Out of hand Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp states: “It’s a judgment. Do you really want to spend $20 million going after Gibson? Or $20 million dollars elsewhere…there are lots of issues to spend money on. The Federal bureaucracy is just out of hand.”
A tearful employee, Stephen Stought, from Gibson’s parts division says, “I’m getting emotional about it, but it’s our jobs.”
An outraged Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister says he would think that “the Federal government has more important things to do, like stop drugs coming into this country, than harassing a guitar manufacturer. He says that the fact that a musician could fund himself prosecuted is as “ un-American as it gets.”
The Justice department bullies Gibson without filing charges
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov’t says wood is illegal if U.S. workers produce it
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.
On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.
• Raid shut down Gibson factories and cost company money
This is the second time that federal agents have raided Gibson facilities and disrupted production – this time causing lost productivity and sales.
• Wood seized was Forest Stewardship Council Controlled
The wood the Government seized on August 24 is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and is FSC Controlled, meaning that the wood complies with the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an industry-recognized and independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC Controlled Wood standards require, among other things, that the wood not be illegally harvested and not be harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights. See www.fsc.org for more information. 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.
• Nearly two years later, no charges have been filed
In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.
The Justice Department has asked the judge to stop the court case indefinitely.
• Information sought in raid was already made available
Since 2009, Gibson has fully cooperated with the Government’s investigation of wood and has provided substantial documentation regarding Gibson’s wood-buying activities over the years. Yet, the Federal Government raided Gibson’s facilities on August 24, 2011, without warning or communication of any kind. Had the Government simply communicated with Gibson, Gibson would have cooperated without having to stop its production and send workers home.
• Not about illegal logging, not about conservation, not about the environment
The U.S. Lacey Act does not directly address conservation issues but is about obeying all laws of the countries from which wood products are procured. This law reads that you are guilty if you did not observe a law even though you had no knowledge of that law in a foreign country. The U.S. Lacey Act is only applicable when a foreign law has been violated.
• Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights
Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.
For more information, please contact:
Henry E. Juszkiewicz
c/o Gibson Guitar Corp.
309 Plus Park Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37217
(615) 871-4500 Extension 2405
Important Reading About Gibson’s Witch Hunt:
Michelle Malkin: Gibson Guitars vs. Obama DOJ story
Wall Street Journal: Gibson Guitar Wails on Federal Raid Over Wood
Michelle Malkin: Eco-zealous feds target Gibson guitars, antique piano sellers
“So the government’s contention is that because American workers are working on that and finishing it, that it is not a finished product and, therefore, initially Madagascar law – and now I guess they’re contending Indian law – says you can’t remove unfinished product from the market. So in other words, if a person in Madagascar had completed the work on that blank, it would be legal. But the fact that American workers are finishing the work in the United States, makes it illegal, as far as their concerned.”
“The government’s position is, that is the law of the land in Madagascar and they are saying that is the law of the land in India. That is not the case. The fact is, we have affidavits from numerous government officials – and this court case, specifically now, is forMadagascar wood. We have affidavits from virtually every govt official saying that it is legal, that their definition of what is legal is a fingerboard blank and its been exported within every certification that is necessary. So they have the arrogance to interpret Madagascar law differently than the people of Madagascar.”
Commenter Tom W. had some ideas at Gateway Pundit:
Gibson is the only guitar company targeted by the Obama DOJ under the
Tennessee is a right-to-work state.
Fender, Taylor, Rickenbacker, Danelectro, Carvin, MusicMan, and ESP are in California;
Spector is in New York;
Martin is in Pennsylvania;
Guild, Ovation, and Hamer are in Connecticut;
Alvarez is in Missouri;
B.C. Rich is in Kentucky;
Heritage is in Michigan;
Washburn is in Illinois.
All are forced-union states.
Peavey is another guitar and electronics company, located in the right-to-work state of Mississippi.
Since 2009, Peavey has been the target of multiple lawsuits filed by a competitor, MUSIC Group, which alleges that Peavy products fail to meet federal safety and emissions standards.
The plot thickens, however.
One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars