Here's How It All Came About

Copyright © James Henry Graf, 1998-2006


Most of us grew up thinking of the United States as a nation of honor and decency. Confronted with the unethical bio-chemical and radiation experiments of earlier decades, we ascribe their inhumanity to prevailing racism and Cold War anxiety that we must surely have outgrown. An apology from the President (the former President, at least) creates an illusion of reform, then it's business as usual. Present practices, especially those occurring under color of "national security," go undisclosed and unexamined.

Like the People's Republic of China, the United States stands, in fact, on what former President Clinton called "the wrong side of history." This nation does nothing to comply with -- and contumaciously violates -- the international human rights treaties to which it has become a state party.

Here's how it happened. In the early years of the Reagan Administration, when "fighting terrorism" (1) and the "war on drugs" superseded human rights as priorities in both foreign and domestic policy, personnel were shifted among agencies, blurring the boundaries of authority and accountability. This permitted domestic law enforcement agents to exercise powers not constitutionally theirs in the name of "national security." Police, on or off duty, within or outside their jurisdictions, began to think and act like intelligence agents on a secret spy mission or a military operation. Conversely, military and intelligence agents were able to carry out illegitimate "covert ops," justified as "police business," against civilian Americans. Citizens became subjects. Subjects became suspects. Suspects became enemies.

The most abusive, anti-democratic elements in the military, intelligence, and law enforcement communities came to the fore. Outrageous violations of individual rights (2) reminiscent of earlier COINTELPRO oppression (3) were the inevitable, and intentional, result. The age of "any old excuse will do" was born, and has continued to this day.

Privatization and community mobilization, moreover, provided a degree of deniability, relieving the perpetrators of government repression -- in their own minds, at least -- of any sense of responsibility under the Constitution. Suddenly, two-bit private investigators were dropping names and claiming "national security" as they violated the privacy, dignity, and constitutional rights of their fellow citizens. High-tech surveillance devices and secret files fell into the hands of vigilante lynch-mob fanatics bent on "social cleansing," determined to "get something on" people they didn't like.

Though participation and coverup are bipartisan, the Republican Party's involvement in America's persecution-and-torture agenda is deep and deplorable. The problem seems to have begun with "Nixon's Nazis," East-European fascists, many of them active Third Reich collaborators, whom the Republican Party imported during the 1950s and 1960s as political organizers in the "ethnic community" to counteract the heavily Democratic Jewish vote (4). This was just one aspect of a larger phenomenon that included the use of Nazi intelligence agents and scientists by the US military and the fledgling CIA (5). For many years, some of the most powerful persons in America, exercising authority and possessing knowledge inaccessible to the average citizen, or even the average congressman, have displayed an ideology and code of conduct directly descended from Nazi Germany.

What we have here is semi-privatized state-terrorism, just as practiced in El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Colombia, and elsewhere. The United States of America, the world's oldest democracy, the world's pre-eminent military and economic power, is waging war against its own people.

An Agency With a Secret Agenda

My own personal experience is illustrative. In March, 1975, I became an employee of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. A year later, partly in response to scandals regarding events at Willowbrook State School, the State reorganized my department, separating the Office of Mental Health, dealing with psychiatric patients, from the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, for which I worked.

The State of New York has a long history of experimenting on human subjects under conditions that fall short of informed consent, with results that are sometimes painful and occasionally fatal. In 1953, under a classified contract with the Department of Defense, my agency administered a mescaline derivative to a man named Harold Blauer, who had entered the New York State Psychiatric Institute for depression following a divorce. His doctors told him that the treatment was experimental. They did not inform him that he was a guinea pig in a government experiment designed to test hallucinogenic drugs as weapons of war. The last injection killed him. His former wife settled with the state, but their offspring filed a lawsuit, which came before the late Judge Constance Baker Motley in 1987. Judge Motley awarded the plaintiffs more than $700,000 in a decision that documented a "20-year conspiracy" to conceal the real cause of Harold Blauer's death (6). One may rightly wonder how many other conspiracies might have existed that never came to light.

The 1970s saw the scandal at Willowbrook, which involved, along with reprehensible neglect and warehousing of retarded clients, deliberate infection of incoming developmentally-disabled individuals with Hepatitis B antigen, ostensibly to conduct controlled studies of the disease (7). Experiments with inadequate consent procedures, such as allowing relatives or close friends to give consent for painful or dangerous treatment of mental patients, continued at least until the mid-1990s (8). The experimentation frequently has sinister overtones. Constitution, laws, and rules notwithstanding, those who conduct these experiments seem often to consider the "mentally incompetent" devoid of any rights that they are bound to respect. Though I have no access, God knows, to the records, I suspect multiple atrocities, involving chemical, bacteriological, and electromagnetic weapons testing.

A Humanitarian Workplace Becomes a Nest of Spies

Over the years, my former employers enjoyed frequent contact with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the military. My workplace in the 1980s became a hotbed of covert intelligence activity. In alignment with Reagan Administration policies, these forces concerned themselves primarily with "fighting terrorism" and the "war on drugs." Their definition of "terrorism" was loose, to say the least (9). The broad umbrella of "terrorism" covered peaceful, humanitarian activities like those of the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). The Sanctuary Movement, who tried to save El Salvadoran refugees from involuntary repatriation and almost certain death, likewise fell under suspicion.

The Reagan Administration's persecution of persons and organizations opposing its policies in Central America involved considerable scrutiny of Catholic University of America graduates (I am a member of the Class of 1964). Senator Tom Harkin, who earned his law degree at C.U.A.'s Columbus School of Law in 1972, was the subject of an FBI investigation (10). Jack Elder of the Sanctuary Movement, who had been a friend and Sigma Pi Delta fraternity brother of mine, was among those prosecuted for trying to help refugees (11).

A right-wing private investigator and former CIA agent from Texas, Philip Mabry, kept files on people opposed to American policies in Central America. His organization was named (note the irony) Americans for Human Rights and Social Justice! In 1984, at the suggestion of Colonel Oliver North (of Contragate notoriety), Mabry wrote a letter to FBI Director William Webster in which he accused a number of groups and individuals of having Communist connections. Among those named in this McCarthyite witch hunt were the actresses Susan Anspach (a classmate of mine whom I knew) and Susan Sarandon (who went to Catholic University after we graduated, but who had grown up in my home state of New Jersey).

The letter was taken seriously. On December 27, 1984, Mabry received a reply from Assistant FBI Director Buck Revell that assured him "your concerns and comments will be carefully reviewed" (12).

In 1982, I had participated in a Jersey City, New Jersey demonstration opposing US military aid to El Salvador sponsored by CISPES (13). I had signed a petition opposing US policy against Nicaragua. I was also on the mailing list of the All Peoples Congress, an organization that Philip Mabry wouldn't like very much at all. When that demonstration took place, I was a member of a Hudson County, New Jersey grand jury that heard charges against at least two New York police officers apprehended in my state. Thomas Duffy, New York State Special Prosecutor, presented these police misconduct cases to my panel.

Though I never succeeded in obtaining access to any of the pertinent government files, I am reasonably certain that I was under surveillance during that time. I was also the victim of stalking and "set-ups" on the highway that could have been government-instigated.

My workplace at 75 Morton Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village served as a staging area for early actions in the "war on drugs." Administrators there consorted frequently with law enforcement officials. In 1985, Sergeant Richard Pike and Officer Jeffrey Gilbert of New York's 106th Precinct in Queens were charged with having used electric stun-guns to torture a marijuana suspect twelve years earlier (14). Hearing that Special Prosecutor William Dowling was planning to look into the matter, I wrote him a letter on May 15, 1985, reporting that I had seen both of the suspects outside their own precinct at my workplace, associating with Director of Education and Training Rocco Menta. Mssrs. Pike and Gilbert were later convicted of assault and coercion.

Staff Reduction Via Blackmail and Persecution

All this occurred in the context of "downsizing." In 1983, my name was on a list of New York State employees slated for layoff. Then, on April 1, 1983, my facility's Director, Maurice D. Halifi, wrote me a letter informing me that, as a result of "discussions between the Governor [Mario M. Cuomo] and the Legislature," there would be "changes in the methods to be used in carrying out the staff reductions," including "increased reliance on attrition." His letter of April 27, 1983 then stated: "The revised plan still affects you but the result is different from that in our previous letter. This is to notify you that under the revised plan, it will be necessary to re-evaluate your potential rights and benefits if you wish to maintain your employment with the State." My continued employment, then, was contingent upon my willingness to relinquish certain unspecified rights and benefits! In retrospect, it seems that the right of privacy in my own home was one such right. I never relinquished that or any other right.

Throughout the 1980s, my agency's egregiously unscrupulous administrators used all the power and influence at their disposal to eliminate employees they didn't like. Obscenely intrusive, unbelievably extensive "lifestyle" investigations became a powerful administrative tool for staff reduction through intimidation -- blackmailing, blackballing, and blacklisting. At least one of my colleagues was blackmailed out of her job. Though I was not a member of CISPES or Sanctuary, my employers, wishing to rid themselves of this troublesome "left-leaning" speech therapist, used their contacts in federal, state, and municipal agencies to focus increased attention on me. Though this constituted illegal retaliation for my whistleblowing and my having filed a federal civil rights complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services, no authority ever brought the perpetrators to justice. Ruthlessly corrupting persons, agencies, and organizations, they enjoyed absolute impunity.

When they could not unearth real evidence, the "investigators" simply invented it. Claims of "national security" and "police business" assured universal cooperation and secrecy. The process is practically identical to the system of psychiatric discreditation that prevailed in the last days of the Soviet Union (15). In secret, non-adversarial "evaluations," personal information, usually contrived or criminally-obtained, is presented to a panel of "authorities" by way of building a case for mental incompetency or moral turpitude.

These "Star Chamber" proceedings are not merely extrajudicial. They are criminally malicious. There is no semblance of due process. Planted evidence, falsified documents, morphed photographs, and perjured testimony are more the rule than the exception. The "subjects" of such "evaluations" are not informed, before or after the fact, get no opportunity to present evidence, question witnesses, or make a statement, and cannot examine, obtain, or correct the records, which are nevertheless indiscriminately and illegally disclosed to many persons and agencies for malicious purposes.

Those who participate in this process are supremely sanctimonious -- smug, arrogant hypocrites. To them, our rights are crimes, their crimes are rights. They display a satanic consciousness that revels in obscene injustice and strives for maximum possible evil, setting about deliberately to punish the innocent, reward the guilty, make fools of the wise, corrupt the upright, and turn the very law itself into an instrument of criminality. Like a tripartite "process" cult from the 1960s (16), they seem to be synthetic multiple personalities, capable of anything, contemptuously lording it over those they consider inferior while themselves immersed in perversion. Though their technology is twenty-first century, they would be more at home in the thirteenth. I have called them The Ultimate Medieval.

My resistance to, and whistleblowing regarding, these unconstitutional practices raised my status from "nuisance" to "enemy" in the eyes of my employers. At the instigation of New York State officials and their associates, the United States of America has waged war against me -- "low-intensity conflict," if you will -- since at least 1984. A surveillance device that emits ionizing radiation has become a weapon for destruction of my immune and reproductive systems (17). Subject to innumerable break-ins for which no legal recourse is available, I appear to have been poisoned over the years with chemical and biological weapons. Persons associated with my employers stabbed my dog in my own back yard in 1987. The next year, the State discharged me from my job after an improper ex parte disciplinary arbitration hearing that I was too sick to attend and that my union refused to attend on my behalf. On the same day, the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Health and Human Services dismissed my complaint of illegal retaliation (Docket Number 02-86-3057), blaming everything on my alleged negative attitude toward my superiors. OCR denied my appeal of this decision.

In 1989, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board dismissed without a formal hearing my Improper Practice charge against the State and the union (Case Number U-10571), then dismissed my appeal, also without a hearing. In October of that year, a suspicious "accident" destroyed my car while it sat in a legal parking space. The insurance adjuster tried to coerce my signature on a "power of attorney" form that incorrectly stated the car's serial number. Doing so could have sent me to jail for two years. When I provided him with the correct number, the adjuster sent me a second form with the same incorrect serial number. I continued to refuse. Then he sent a third form, with a different incorrect serial number. The New Jersey Department of Insurance found nothing improper in this.

Sporadically since 1985, and continuously since September, 1987, government agents and their associates have subjected me to the hell on earth of "Marlin Fitzwater's Private Purgatory" -- electromagnetic tracking, surveillance, and mind-reading technologies. Repulsive, anonymous "voices" torment and degrade me incessantly. Bio-chemical poisons weaken me and "biological process control" weapons disrupt somatic functions.

There is no recourse under law -- no escape, no rescue, no relief. My own Democratic Party has done nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to help. New Jersey officials of both parties have repeatedly denied me the equal protection of my native state's laws and will do nothing to secure my rights under federal law. Senator (formerly Congressman) Robert Menendez, who went to school with my nephew and knew my late sister by her first name, will not even answer my letters! Non-governmental organizations ignore or insult me. This is a nation in denial, where hypocrisy and insouciance reign supreme.

This is intolerable. Human rights, based on the inherent dignity of the human person, apply to all individuals, without distinction. There's a Nigerian saying: "Not to know is bad; not to want to know is worse; not to hope is unthinkable; not to care is unforgivable."

Let's all be willing to know.

Let's all dare to hope.

Let's all care -- about everyone.


  1. In his very first press conference as President Reagan's Secretary of State on January 28, 1981, Alexander Haig stated unequivocally that "international terrorism will take the place of human rights."

  2. Ross Gelbspan, Break-ins, Death Threats, and the FBI (Boston: South End Press, 1991).

  3. Brian Glick, War At Home (Boston: South End Press, 1989).

  4. John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews (St. Martin's Press, 1994).

  5. Linda Hunt, Secret Agenda (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991).

  6. "Judge finds Army caused patient's death in secret chemical-warfare test," Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ, Wednesday, May 6, 1987, p. 5.

  7. I first learned of this via a departmental newsletter in 1975 or early 1976. Other sources have amply documented it since then.

  8. "New York Court Order Halts Some Research in Psychiatry," The New York Times, December 27, 1996, p. A1.

  9. Gelbspan, pp. 87-95.

  10. Gelbspan, p. 152.

  11. Robert Tomsho, The American Sanctuary Movement (Austin Texas: Texas Monthly Press, Inc., 1987), pp. 137-143.

  12. Gelbspan, pp. 185-188.

  13. "Protest slated Saturday on El Salvador," The Dispatch, Hudson and Bergen Counties, NJ, Monday, February 22, 1982, p. 3.

  14. "Two N.Y. cops arrested in stun gun torture of teenager," Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ, April 23, 1985, p. 10.

  15. "When Justice Is Just Another Form of Insanity: Case Histories in Soviet Psychiatry," The New York Times, January 24, 1988.

  16. Maury Terry, The Ultimate Evil (Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1987).

  17. My most recent attempt to obtain the equal protection of federal law in the matter of this atrocious assault was my letter of January 30, 2005 to the Department of Justice. Though mailed from my local post office, it never reached its destination. Instead, somebody slipped it under my door at 3:00 AM on February 26, 2005. Copies sent to the US Attorney's office in Newark, NJ and to the Perth Amboy, NJ police have not prompted any response.

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Also See

Satan's Lair on Morton Street

What Is a Private Purgatory, Marlin Fitzwater?

Fantasy Interrogation

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