Amnesty International has defined prisoners of conscience as "people who are imprisoned, detained, or otherwise physically restricted because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs or because of their origin, sex, colour or language and who have not used or advocated violence." AI has included in this definition people "confined to a village, or others whose freedom of movement has been so severely restricted as to amount to a form of detention." Amnesty has adopted as prisoners of conscience those who are imprisoned for trying unsuccessfully to leave their countries, "where their motives for wanting to leave their country are linked to their political views, religious beliefs or other origins, or can be assumed to be."
A "non-person" is someone deliberately anathematized by government authorities -- denied the equal protection of the laws, ignored or rejected by all whom he approaches for help. This was done in the last years of the Soviet Union, where persons considered too active politically (troublemakers, whistleblowers, etc.) were declared mentally ill by a secret committee, which then sent out word to all agencies that it would be wise not to cooperate with them.
All of these conditions apply to me. I demonstrated against the War in Vietnam, wrote letters to the editor against the Nixon Administration, and participated in a demonstration against American military aid to El Salvador sponsored by CISPES (the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). I am a whistleblower who informed the New York State Special Prosecutor in 1985 about corrupt connections between my employer (a New York State agency) and brutal police who had used electric stun-guns to torture marijuana suspects. My former employers and their associates have subjected me since then to a retaliatory campaign of slander, attack with radiation, terrorism and more. I tried three times to obtain political asylum in European countries, only to be returned to these shores against my will (see "Hard Realities" on my web site).
I am presently hobbled like a recaptured slave, confined to a very limited range of activity by the bio-chemical and electromagnetic assaults perpetrated upon me by American agents. My cellular immunity is depressed, probably because of radiation (no other cause has been established). I suffer greatly from chronic infections and other disabling conditions that my physicians will not adequately treat. My mobility is very limited. I live in pain and misery, scarcely able to care for myself, too weak and fatigued to travel out of my home town, sometimes too sick to walk to the local grocery store. My former employers and their associates in the law enforcement and "national security" communities are in fact subjecting me to protracted extrajudicial killing -- very slow murder.
Amnesty International has not adopted me as a prisoner of conscience -- will not even consider my case -- nor will any other human rights advocacy group or lawyer. I am generally avoided or rejected, treated with patronizing amusement or suspicion and hostility. Excuse-making, exception-making, loophole-finding, and downright escapism have obscured reality and undermined morality. The prognosis is not good -- for me, for humanity.
James Henry Graf