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Don’t Let the State Kill Steve Kubby

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I was hoping to write a lengthy original article for Blogcritics on the Steve Kubby situation, which is an emergency happening right now. Kubby is a political activist who was recently deported from Canada so he could serve a sentence in a California county on a nonsensical drug charge (he’s in favor of using marijuana to help save your own life, and helped get the medicinal-marijuana initiative passed in California).

I also wanted to talk about a previous case of an activist killed by the state for advocating drug legalization, Peter McWilliams. Google it. It’s instructive.

Since making-a-living type things and other distractions are making it tough to do the report I want to do for Blogcritics on this, and since the matter is urgent, I’m going to cheat and just paste together a couple of my recent posts at the Laissez Faire Books Blog.

The bottom line is this: you can help save this guy’s life by contacting the folks holding Kubby and explaining that by preventing him from getting the proper treatment, they are making it harder for him to survive. That we all know that their conduct will have been a major contributing factor if he does die while under their “care.” Here are the two blogs, in the order posted. (Don’t miss my addendum at the end about the latest incident in this Kafka-esque parade, about the paper they forced him to sign.)

* * *
posted 1/29/06
Steve Kubby: back in the U.S….and doomed?

Steve Kubby, a libertarian activist who fled to Canada to avoid being harassed for using marijuana in the U.S., has been deported. He needs the marijuana to treat malignant pheochromocytoma, a normally fatal condition…and is unlikely to get that marijuana in an American jail. The hammeroftruth site reports:

Kubby has twice been held behind bars for a few days, and he nearly died both times. This time, it is expected that he would spend 90 days in jail. According to his family, this will almost certainly prove fatal to Kubby.

The site quotes from a press release sent by Kubby’s wife, Michele:

Canadian Federal Justice, Yvon Pinard, ruled today [January 20] that Immigration Canada may now proceed with its attempt to send Steve Kubby, cancer patient and medical marijuana refugee, to die in an American jail. Immigration Canada is expected to issue a new removal date, presumably sometime next week.

Angry and distraught, Michelle Kubby said, “Justice Pinard simply ignored the statements by the Placer County Prosecutor that Steve would be jailed, if he is forced to return to the US. (Kubby was prosecuted by Placer County in 1999 after a six month surveillance of the Kubbys’ home based solely on an anonymous letter.)

“He also completely misrepresented California laws regarding medical marijuana. No jail in the US allows the use of medical marijuana. My husband’s life hangs in the balance, but Justice Pinard ignored blatant lying by Immigration officials.

“We attempted to file an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeals, but were denied. If Canadian judges ignore both the facts and the law, we can only count on the Canadian people to contact their politicians. Unfortunately, Canada is in the middle of an election campaign in which even the plight of Canadians who need medical cannabis does not seem to be an issue.”

Kubby is now in the U.S., in the custody of the Placer County Sheriffs Department. Michele Kubby is posting updates about his situation at the kubby.com site:

Unfortunately I missed Steve’s call today because of an interview. No problem, Steve called our Auburn contacts and described the circumstances of his day.

It seems that Placer has moved him from the infirmary to solitary confinement. He has a cell all to himself and he was freezing. Again they are ignoring his pleas for a blanket and have left him to shiver and chatter in a cold cell. Remember, this is in the foothills of the Western Sierra. It is very cold and the cold is a damp cold. I’m afraid he will be looking at getting pneumonia soon if he is not warmed up.

This is exactly the cruel and inhumane treatment I described to Canadian officials, that would happen if Steve were returned to the US. I also told them repeatedly that Steve would be immediately arrested upon his arrival at SFO, which is exactly what happened. Of course the Canadian government officials that judged our case responded to my pleas for protection from this grim future by turning a blind eye, ignoring evidence, and refusing to do the right thing when they could. They cannot see what they have done, for to do so would have to mean that they were wrong and have made a terrible life threatening mistake.

This, of course, is exactly the position that Placer is in. To admit that they are wrong about the life saving properties of cannabis is impossible. Better to test this theory out and see if it can really save a life.

Steve always liked to give us good news. So, the good news about today is that the Marinol is helping to control the rectal bleeding he was experiencing as well as the blood pressure. Of course Marinol does not contain the catacholimes present in the whole plant, and these have been shown by Dr. Guzman of Spain to have the properties of inhibiting a protein necessary for blood vessel development, which results in the cancer tissue being denied nutrients as well as teaching cancer cells to die.

With Marinol, Steve is only partly protected. Because Marinol uses only the THC active portion of the cannabis plant, his tumors are now free to grow again. This type of tumor is particularly apt to grow into the spinal cord, brain and organs.

Now, the bad news is that Placer has not taken his blood pressure since he arrived yesterday. Steve must be on a constant monitor in order to gauge the severity of his medical condition. At any time, his blood pressure can skyrocket. Being freezing cold stresses the body which releases more chemicals which worsens the danger.

This is a game of chicken and Steve doesn’t have much of a chance. He has been stripped of all rights, including his right to the special diet he needs.

In the January 29, 2006 issue of The Libertarian Enterprise, over at ncc-1776.org, Thomas Knapp suggests in a letter to the editor that opponents of the drug war/destruction of Steve Kubby help bring attention to his case by making his story more accessible in the search engines, and offers tips on how to do that.

* * *
posted 01/30/06:

More on how you can help Steve Kubby stay alive

Kubby’s wife, Michele, has posted an update about his situation at the kubby.com site:

A contact in Placer [County] has just called to give me an update on Steve. I’m so glad someone heard from him. His main concern at this point is that Placer is not documenting the effects of his disease on his body or taking his illness seriously. His blood pressure is at 166/108. Placer is not testing for blood in his urine, either. Placer has also turned down Steve’s request for Tylenol pain killer.

Steve wanted to express his gratitude for the calls. They are making a difference. One Sergeant, named Sanders has made sure that Steve is warm and has a blanket and pillow now, because of your concern. One thing my friend did say, Steve sounds amped and angry. This is to be expected because of the adrenaline in his body.

I hope this is resolved on Tuesday. Thanks for being there.

At shrubbloggers.com, Eric Dixon yesterday pointed to a page by Brad Spangler giving contact info for the Placer County District Attorney, so that people can ask him to have mercy on Kubby and not let him die. Spangler is convinced the motive for going after Kubby is political retribution for Kubby’s involvement in California’s medicinal marijuana initiative. (As Eric points out, the author Peter McWilliams was also a very public exponent of liberalizing the drug laws. McWilliams was jailed and stopped from using pot to treat his own illness, which eventually proved fatal.)

Spangler writes:

Steve Kubby will surely die unless something extraordinary happens to encourage some measure of mercy to be extended to him.

Steve’s family and supporters have asked those who can’t make it to San Francisco to show their support for him personally to contact the Placer County California District Attorney and express disapproval of inhumane treatment for Steve and plead for his life.

Contact: Bradford R. Fenocchio Placer County District Attorney
(530) 889-7000
(530) 889-7129 fax
bfenocch@placer.ca.gov

Spangler’s own letter, provided as a sample, seems a bit more impolitic than is wise in such a situation. However, if all the persons responsible for incarcerating Kubby are warned again and again that Kubby might die without the appropriate care, including the medicinal marijuana that staved off his deterioration prior to being deported, and to please not let him die, perhaps they might think twice about simply letting him die. They would not then be able to say, later, that they simply had no idea what might happen. There would be too much documentation of the fact that they did have an idea.

A page at the web site for Placer County, placer.ca.gov/da/da.htm, describes District Attorney Fenocchio as one who “makes reasonable and ethical decisions when initiating prosecution.”

* * *

The hits just keep on coming. After I posted the above blogs at the Laissez Faire Books blog, a transcript of a phone conversation with Steve Kubby was posted at blogs.salon.com, in which Kubby reported that his keepers forced him to sign a paper declaring that if he dies while in their custody, it’s his fault, not theirs. Remember, these are the folks who by dragging Kubby back to the U.S. over the bogus drug charge put his life in unnecessary jeopardy to begin with.

OK, so let me continue with my report. Here’s the spooky part, Pat. The medical director has refused any further medical care for me, and has forced me to sign a paper that if I die, it’s my fault for not taking conventional b-p medication. When I protested that the statement did not include the statement that I was under doctors’ orders from my doctors not to take these medications, I was confronted by a deputy, who told me, I want to get the quote right, told me, “Sign the paper, and sign it as is.” And, you know, just got in my face and made it clear that I was under physical duress to do it, that I was forced to sign that paper.

At least the fact that he signed unwillingly is now out there, public.

Here is the plea most recently posted by Kubby’s wife, Michele, at the kubby.com site, which has lots of information about what has happened to Mr. Kubby:

ATTENTION! KEEP CALLING THE JAIL MEDICAL CENTER @ 530-745-8660 AND REQUESTING THAT STEVE SEE AN OUTSIDE DOCTOR. CONTINUE TO CALL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ABOUT THE MOTION INTO COURT FOR EDIBLES TO BE GIVEN TO STEVE. THANKS EVERYONE!

I expect to post further updates about this bizarre and sadistic case at the Laissez Faire Books blog in the days ahead.

Let’s help save this guy’s life.

David M. Brown is the publisher of The Webzine, and runs the blog for the Laissez Faire Books web site, where he has been posting about the Kubby case.

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About David M. Brown

  • Bliffle

    I think it’s past time to legalize pot.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    For many reasons, I believe all drugs should be legalized. The only actions that should be designated as crimes are actual crimes. You don’t defraud, rob or murder somebody by ingesting a substance.

    The war on drugs has reached such depths of absurdity that stores are now being compelled to put cough syrup behind the counter, because somebody might extract its ingredients for other than cough-treatment purposes. One might as well put the cutlery behind the counter too, since knives can be used not only for cutting steak but also for stabbing people to death. Large, heavy objects of any kind are also suspect.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    It is absolutely unbelieveable to me that the governments of both the US and Canada are doing this to a poor, sick man.

    God help Steve Kubby, and God help us all…

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    “absolutely unbelieveable…”

    Yes. But all thoroughly documented. A good starting point is kubby.com

  • RedTard

    Wow, a vast multinational conspiracy of coldblooded killers trying to end the life of a man of zero importance in the world.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    Classy. Do you have anything of substance to say, Retard, or is sarcasm and distortion all that you have on your menu?

    Nobody has claimed an “international conspiracy.” The Canadians acquiesced in a demand of the law officers in California, despite the protestations of Mrs. Kubby and her explanation of what would probably happen–i.e., exactly what is happening. And it hardly matters whether there’s a “conspiracy” or determined intention to cause Kubby to die if that is the result of their malicious and negligent conduct–if that is the result of his keepers’ obtusely ignoring, from whatever personal or political motives, the best medical course for this guy by his own understanding and that of his regular doctors.

    What do you think is happening in the case, guy? Drop the vicious sarcasm and straw-man confection for two seconds and give us your understanding of what has transpired in this case. Tell us your analysis based on the documents and reporting at kubby.com. What’s your own honest understanding of the evidence? Just as points of fact, what is going on here?

    A man’s life is at stake. You owe him better than this.

  • RedTard

    What has happened in this case:

    Druggy in remission from cancer gets busted for marijuana and shrooms (I suppose they’re medical too).

    Jumps bail to Canada.

    Gets caught and treated properly under the law.

    Protests and screams about ‘rights’ to do drugs.

    Refuses to take regular medications.

    That about sums it up.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    Still waiting for the analysis based on the actual reported and documented facts. Since you decline to take a close look at those facts, or at your own prejudices, it doesn’t seem we’re likely to get anywhere. I can’t respond to specific objections of the reported history of the case if I don’t know what those specific objections are.

    Let me ask you this, though, for the sake of others who may be viewing this hemi-dialogue: If you could be convinced, based on the facts available and documented, that this man has a better chance of living if he were released and allowed to return to Canada, but would likely die if forced to remain in jail for the 3 months and prevented from pursuing the treatment of his illness that he thinks is best…would you still insist that he should remain incarcerated? I.e., knowing that his death would be the price paid?

    I think your answer, if we get one, will be very revealing, one way or the other.

    Perhaps you can also explain, while you’re at it, what harm this man has caused anybody tantamount to the harm being inflicted on him and his wif

  • RedTard

    If Marijuana is saving his life I certainly hope he should have access to it. Call me a sceptic but I can’t just read one side’s version of the story and feel I have grasped the whole thing.

    I don’t think there is any logical reason that marijuana should be illegal. It doesn’t appear to be much harm to society.

    As for it’s medicinal value. There may be a tiny sliver of a minority which may actually get some benefit from marijuana that cannot be simulated by other drugs or extracts. Or perhaps not, science has not proven either way.

    A sizable portion of the ‘medical marijuana’ proponents are simply recreational drug users or libertarians who are hiding their true motives. Mr Kubby was busted with shrooms and marijuana which makes him suspect in my view. (The other individual case linked on the site involved a bust of marijuana and cocaine)

    Marijuana should be legalized on it’s own merits not on sensationalized propaganda or emotional appeals.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    “Emotional appeals”?

    So, whether the guy lives or dies is just an antiseptic datum, in R.’s view? Is the suffering being reported all just fabricated? Is the fact that his keepers initially withheld even an extra blanket from Kubby (later tendered after many calls of inquiry and protest) just a fiction? Is the transcript of the detailed conversation in which Kubby reported his status just a fiction? Is his claim that he was compelled to sign a statement that he didn’t agree with just a fiction?

    I know that some people use drugs recreationally rather than for medicinal purposes. I don’t care. I don’t think the law should come down like a hammer on anybody innocent of any actual crime. What’s happening in this particular case is vicious in the extreme. A man’s life is at stake. Why the actual fate of actual particular individuals, the actual cost extracted by the drug war, should be regarded as irrelevant, I have no idea whatever. Individual human beings are the ones who bear the costs. It’s not rocks and petunias. There is no reason to oppose any malfeasances, corruptions and excesses of government laws and government officials except because of the costs that must be borne by actual specific individuals.

    Perhaps R. could give Mr. Kubby’s wife, Michele, a call and explain how overly emotional she’s being about her husband’s fate.

    We’re done here. Somebody else can swim in what Mr. R. is producing.

  • RedTard

    “Is the suffering being reported all just fabricated?”

    Who knows. It’s an internet blog.

    “Is the fact that his keepers initially withheld even an extra blanket from Kubby (later tendered after many calls of inquiry and protest) just a fiction?”

    Using a term like ‘keepers’ and protesting loudly about minor inconveniences in prison as ‘cruel and inhumane’ lead me to believe that the writer has an anti-government agenda and is willing to stretch the truth to garner support for their position (aka, an emotional appeal). Unlike you, I don’t take everything I hear from a protester on the internet at face value.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    My latest LFB Blog entry about the Kubby case is now posted.

  • http://www.lfb.com/cart/affiliate.php?code=10758 David M. Brown

    My latest LFB Blog entry has an excerpt from an interview with Joel Miller, author of Bad Trip, about the connection between the war on drugs and funding of terrorist activities. We’ll be doing further updates on the fate of Steve Kubby (for the benefit of those who do regard particular individuals as having more than “zero importance in the world”), including what we learn about today’s preliminary hearing, in future posts.