WAR ON ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN WRITERS
By Ian Williams Goddard
Peter McWilliams, author of the classic civil-libertarian
treatise "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do,"  is facing
up to 5 years in prison for growing cannabis, which he used
to treat symptoms of AIDS.  In 1996, Californians voted
to legalize cannabis smoking and growing for medical purposes,
yet two years later McWilliams was arrested in California for
growing cannabis to treat AIDS. By arresting a well-known
author and activist for consensual activity approved by The
People, the government is sending the message that democracy
will not stand in the way of its war on consensual medicine.
To prevent the possibility of justice, the court prohibited
McWilliams from informing the jury that he has AIDS, that
cannabis has therapeutic value for AIDS patients, and that
California legalized the medical use of cannabis. In short,
the court prohibited McWilliams' defense -- a kangaroo court
by definition -- in an antidemocratic effort to override the
law stipulated by The People. Having been found guilty of
growing cannabis, Peter McWilliams now faces sentencing.
When we also consider the recent persecution by the legal
system of investigative journalists James Sanders and David
Hoffman for their separate efforts to make evidence about
the Flight 800 crash and the Oklahoma City bombing known,
 it becomes clear that U.S. authorities are bypassing
traditional restraints on the abuse of power -- restrains
that differentiate democratic from fascist societies.
McWilliams, Sanders, and Hoffman are all well-known
authors and outspoken critics of the authorities, they
are the "loyal opposition" by definition, and they are the
kind of people who end up in jail in totalitarian societies.
While being financially devastated in the process, both
David Hoffman and James Sanders narrowly escaped prison
time for their "crimes" against authoritarianism. Now
another anti-authoritarian author, Peter McWilliams, is
staring down the barrel of a 5-year-prison sentence. You
may be able to help end this assault on both freedom and
democracy by writing a *cordial* letter to Judge King on
McWilliams behalf: http://www.petertrial.com/letters.htm
Also see: http://users.erols.com/igoddard/sanders3.htm
FROM PETER MCWILLIAMS:
My name is Peter McWilliams. I am a cancer survivor
living with AIDS. I was arrested in July 1998 on
federal medical marijuana charges, even though I
live in California, a state that approved medical
marijuana use in 1996.
In November 1999, the federal prosecutors
success fully obtained an order prohibiting me from
mentioning to the jury that I have AIDS, that
marijuana is medicine, that the federal government
supplies eight patients with medical marijuana each
month, or that California has a law permitting the
very act that I was accused of violating.
As I never denied my medical marijuana cultivation,
that left me with no defense whatsoever. To avoid
an almost certain guilty verdict and a ten-year
mandatory-minimum sentence, I pled guilty to a
lesser charge. (The whole story is at
http://www.petertrial.com ) My sentencing for
this charge will be on March 27, 2000. The
deadline for turning in letters of support is
February 20, 2000.
Would you please take the time to send a letter,
or a fax, or even an e-mail, to the judge on my
behalf? It would make all the difference in my
The letter need not be long or eloquent. One
sentence is sufficient.
The judge can sentence me to 0 to 5 years. The
federal sentencing guidelines place my recommended
(but not mandatory) sentence in the 5-year range.
It is probably unavoidable that I get a sentenced
to some time -- perhaps the full five years.
What I am asking the judge -- and what I am asking
you to ask the judge -- is that I be able to serve
my sentence under "home detention," also known as
"electronic monitoring." (An electronic
transmitter would b permanently fastened to my
ankle and my whereabouts would be monitored 24
hours a day. I would not be able to leave my home
except for medical or court appointments. As I
live in Los Angeles, this will allow me to write
my books, including Galileo LA.)
In writing the Judge King, please observe these
1. Please be respectful. The judge owes me, or
you, nothing. You are asking for a favor.
When Judge King was asked to allow me to use
medical marijuana while out on bail, he said
to the attorneys on both sides, in a voice
trembling with compassion, "I am struggling
mightily with this. Please, struggle with me."
Alas, there was nothing in federal law that
permitted him to allow me to break federal law,
even to save my life, but I believed the
sincerity of his struggle. Personally, I don't
want judges rewriting law as they see fit.
Judge King is a good judge upholding a bad law.
My sentence, however, is at his discretion.
I believe he will be fair, that he will read
the letter you send, and he will be moved by
your heartfelt request. I believe we owe
courtesy to the King.
2. Please focus on my health
and my contributions to society (through my
books -- http://www.mcwilliams.com/books) as
reasons why I should receive home detention
or electronic monitoring (the term can be used
interchangeably). The legal arguments will
be made by my attorney.
3. If you know me, please say so, and state any
positive character traits you may have noticed
wafting by from time to time. (This letter is
not written under oath, so you will not be
arrested for perjury.)
4. If you have read any of my books, please say
so. If they helped you, please say how.
(Exception: Please do not mention "Ain't
Nobody's Business If You Do." See 5.)
5. Please do not give your opinion of the War on
Drugs (unless you're in favor of it), how the
government treated me in this case (unless you
approve), your views on medical marijuana
(unless you're against it), or anything else
critical of the status quo. Save those
remarks, however well-reasoned and accurate,
for letters-to-the-editor. Such comments may
be counterproductive in a letter to a federal
6. If you can, please keep the letter to one
page, and no longer than two.
Actual letters (those things made popular in the
last millennium, printed on paper, put into
envelopes, and sent through the Post Office) are
best. Typed is better, but handwritten is fine.
Please use the most impressive letterhead to
which you have legitimate access. (Your business
stationery is better than your personal
stationery, for example.) If you don't have
stationery, you can create a letterhead on any
word processor in about two minutes.
Please address the letters to "The Honorable
George H. King" and begin the letter "Dear Judge
King,". Please mail the letters TO ME at:
Peter McWilliams, 8165 Mannix Drive, Los Angeles,
If you know you're probably not going to get
around to writing a letter (and I know just how
you feel -- I don't know where to find an
envelope any more, much less a stamp -- please
send a fax (signed, on letterhead, if possible,
but if not, that's fine) to (323) 650-1541.
If you think you might not get around to sending
a fax, please send an e-mail. Please write at
the bottom of the e-mail "You have my permission
to reformat this letter, print it, and sign my
name at the bottom." Your name will be signed
for you, next to which will be the initials of
the person signing it. Please include your
complete mailing address. The e-mail address is
Finally, please circulate this request as widely
as you can -- post it on bulletin boards, send it
to receptive people on your e-mail list, send it
out in newsletters, put it on your web page.
Kindly use your creativity, but, please, no
If you cannot post the entire message of this
missive, the online address of this request is
Thank you from the bottom of my weary but very
WACO BOMB?: http://users.erols.com/igoddard/wacorom2.htm
"There are times when you cannot keep your job and
put alternative explanations for data on the table."
Former FBI Special Agent Dr. Frederic Whitehurst
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