Saturday, May 4, 2013


Student Newspaper
The American School in London
Wednesday, April 4, 1973

Bear van Wyck, the art teacher who organized for Elton John to perform at ASL, had transformed the amphitheater into a kind of VIP lounge for Elton, his band, and others who got tapped to be there; me, by merit of bringing a half-dozen cakes from my parents’ cake biz, and also because I got assigned to try to interview Elton for the school newspaper.

Longdancer, the supporting act, was already into their set when Bear approached me and said Elton was parked outside on Loudoun Road, would I go greet him and show him where to go?

Together with a Swedish student (I’ve forgotten his name), I charged out to Loudoun Road and approached Elton’s black limo.

Problem was, I didn’t know (nor did the other guy) where Bear meant for us to take Elton.  

This was because Bear had planned a surprise party for Elton in the amphitheater (I think it was his birthday) and the setting was not yet ready to receive him.

So the other student and I stupidly led Elton and his band toward the gym, where the concert was taking place.  We went down a stairway (Loudoun Road side) to a door that would have led backstage.

Fortunately, it was locked.  Elton would not have wanted to remain there, behind the stage, for another hour while Longdancer performed.  Nor even for five minutes.

“It’s locked,” I said.

Elton said, “What the bloody hell’s going on?”

It was a fair question.

I responded by leading him to the amphitheater, surprise party be damned. 

As we sauntered in, Elton looked around, a smile on his face, and commented, “Well, this is nice.”

It was very nice, indeed.  There was wine and various cakes and pies, people milling around.

Elton sat down in the front row, center, facing the amphitheater stage. He seemed relaxed and happy.

I shyly asked him if he minded being interviewed for the school paper. He readily and gracefully agreed.  

Others gathered around as I asked questions.  All I had at my disposal was a pen and white paper plates, and I used about five of them to scribble Elton’s answers to my questions.  Others chipped in with questions of their own, and Elton seemed to greatly enjoy himself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Tim Hardin (1941-1980) at Tricky Dick's Coffee House, London, 1978

This (unpublished) interview was conducted in mid-1979.

Tim died from an overdose of heroin December 29, 1980

Tim Hardin used to live in a squat (a derelict house) around the corner from Tricky Dick's, my late-night coffee house in Hampstead, north London.

One evening, Tim wandered in and played his guitar:  a very powerful performance featuring his mighty voice and self-written classics like If I Were a Carpenter.

We became friends and, somewhat down and out, he'd hang with me through the day as I made supply runs for coffee, ice cream, etc.

Early evening, we'd hang at the local bars:  Swiss Cottage, The Red House, and The Old Bull and Bush, where he'd alternately make fast friends and provoke fights.

Later, Tim would play a set at Tricky Dick's in exchange for a burger and fries (and a pint of whiskey under the table).

Many customers had no idea he'd been a famous pop star, fallen on hard times, and when he improvised new lyrics extemporaneously, they'd prat-call that the words were wrong.

Once, Tim stopped playing and smacked a smug heckler on the stomach.  

But mostly he played, because that's what he liked doing best of all.  

He lived for his art and felt good only when he was in his zone, strumming, tapping keys and singing.

ERINGER:  Tell me about your rise and fall situation?

HARDIN:  When I was 19 I got a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York.  It was too much like school, so after about six weeks I dropped out and bought a guitar with my last forty bucks.  Didn't know how to play it or anything.  Figured out five or six chords and started writing tunes because it was easier than learning other people's songs.  I got a gig in Greenwich Village where they passed the hat, hot dog money and bus fare.  Out of that I got a publishing deal:  I'd send them a song, they'd send me some bread.

The music business is based, like every other business, on making as much money as you can for as little effort and as little time spent as possible.  There are some people who do not know how to coordinate their lives that way.  They find out something they can do that's exciting for them to do, which in my case is singing and playing.  It's the only thing I can do good enough to make me feel good.  So, helplessly I go, feeling good and playing, not knowing that when somebody says, "I want to make you a really fair contract"--not knowing that they don't feel the same way about their gig as I do about mine.  It's a business where if you can't lie, or if you don't have somebody to tell you that somebody else is lying to you, you're always going to lose.  Just always.  You might stack up some bread, but you're going to feel such a fool when you realize you're only getting one percent of what you're supposed to get.

You know, I said to my first contract people, who screwed me real good, "I said, "Should I have a lawyer look at this contract?"  They said, "Sure, our lawyer's right next door!"  Hey, man, almost everybody knows better than what I did.

When I realized what was going on, I just walked on them, split, which also cost me a lot of money.  At that time I was so young and, it seemed me, so rich, that I couldn't make a mistake.  That I had some money in my pocket made me so f------- cocky I decided to stop recording for anyone and start my own record company.

ERINGER:  When was that?

HARDIN:  About 1972.  But then I got an offer to record with Rod Stewart's people, GM Records.

ERINGER:  That's when you moved to London?

HARDIN:  Yeah.

ERINGER:  Why London?

HARDIN:  Well, romantically I had something going with Mary Frampton.

ERINGER:  While she was married to Peter Frampton?

HARDIN:  Yeah.

ERINGER:  Did Peter know?

HARDIN:  No, he didn't.  And neither did she!  I was just so in love with her that I just went over there [London] and waited till somebody f----- up.

ERINGER:  What happened?

HARDIN:  Well, I didn't f--- up, so I got it.

ERINGER:  Got what?

HARDIN:  Mary married me.

ERINGER:  How were  you for money at that time?

HARDIN:  Until just after Christmas, '75, I never realized that I wouldn't have all the money I ever wanted ever.

ERINGER:  After being a millionaire for a bunch of years you were suddenly broke?

HARDIN:  And would be in terms of anything I could make off of what I thought I owned.  Then my manager, a so-called "friend," came over and said somebody offered me a quarter-of-a-million for my catalog of songs.  Well, I needed money at the time so I said okay. When I came round to my senses a week later, I changed my mind. So this "friend" came to England and told me he'd gone to the IRS and told him my story about the kind of tax shortcuts everybody takes, and he said they'd extradite me from England and put me in jail.  So I signed the paper and sold the catalog.

ERINGER:  But, still, how can you be so down and out?

HARDIN:  I had to pay my ex-wife Susan an awful lot of money.  I wish she'd give me some.

ERINGER:  Why won't she?

HARDIN:  Because she knows I hate her so much and she hates me, too.  She doesn't even like to see me.

ERINGER:  When did you last see her?

HARDIN:  About seven months ago.  She met me at her office, where she does organic make-up.  I had tea and a cupcake with her.  I asked her if she could lend me some bread to pay for parking across the street.  She said, "Oh, Tim, are you really broke?" and I explained the whole thing to her.  So she gave me twenty bucks instead of five. She could tell right then that I was very capable of killing.

ERINGER:  How did it feel when it finally occurred to you that you were dead broke and had to change your glamorous lifestyle?

HARDIN:  It grabbed me by the nuts, put its thumb up my asshole and scratched my brains from inside.

ERINGER:  You were addicted to heroin, right?

HARDIN:  I was addicted to heroin from age 19 to 26.  I'll tell you what:  My drug experiences were not a drag.  I felt so good so much that I will never, ever be sorry.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


JANUARY 3rd, 2009

Rosemary Kennedy--sister to President John and Senators Robert and Edward--died of natural causes at age 
86 near a special care facility in Wisconsin, where she had lived almost all her adult life.
What happened to poor Rosemary at the tender age of 23 continues to haunt us.
Dr. Bertram Brown, a former Deputy Surgeon General of the U.S., once called it "The biggest mental health cover-up in history."
Let's uncover it.
Rosemary Kennedy was not mentally retarded, as Kennedy lore suggests. 
But even if she were, family patriarch Joseph Kennedy's ultimate solution for dealing with such a handicap would still be 
unforgivable: He made his daughter submit to a prefrontal lobotomy.
The procedure took place in 1941 at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington D.C., where America's original lobotomist, Dr. Walter Freeman, practiced his favorite experimental psychosurgery, usually with a bespoke gold-plated ice pick.
For a start, lobotomy was never supposed to be conducted on the mentally retarded. It was designed for the mentally insane, as a means to relieve chronic aggression.
But Rosemary was not insane, either.
She was temperamental, possibly depressed, with a lower-than-average I.Q.
As such, Rosemary was an embarrassment to her father, who possessed high political ambitions for his sons. Her tantrums, compounded by promiscuity, deeply troubled Joe, who fretted she might become pregnant and shame the family.
So while Joe's wife, Rose, was away, and without her knowledge, he consulted Walt Freeman, who agreed that prefrontal lobotomy was a fine fix for a young woman in the prime of her life who was having, perhaps, too much fun. It would, promised Walt, put an end to her "mood swings that the family found difficult to handle at home." (Part of the reason Rosemary was difficult to handle at home was because her siblings--all of higher intelligence--treated her like moron.)
While the patient recited the Lord's Prayer and sang God Bless America, neurosurgeon James Watts--supervised by Walt--cut at Rosemary's prefrontal lobes with an instrument similar to a butter knife until her words became incoherent.
The procedure worked! No more mood swings, no more tantrums, no more promiscuity; and most important, no more embarrassment for Joe.
Also this: No more personality, no more ability to think or speak; a young, vibrant life taken--sacrificed to pathological ambition. 
Walt Freeman liked to say, "Lobotomy gets them home," as he traversed the country in his lobotomobile, a Cortez trailer, goading asylum keepers in 23 states to line up their unruly.
But Rosemary Kennedy did not go home. Incapacitated, with a developmental age of 2, Rosemary was cast off to Wisconsin--and Joe all but erased her existence from the family.

Friday, September 2, 2011


This appeared in the (UK) Sunday People on May 4th, 1986

Terror plan to 'smash the rich scum and their lackeys'

THE angry Brigade is back. The ruthless anarchists who brought terror to Britain more than a decade ago are manipulating an ultra-left plot to turn out cities into bloodbaths.

The sinister network of fanatical anarchists are motivated solely by a desire to destroy, to maim and to sabotage.

They are bent on whipping up a nationwide hate campaign which will erupt with a summer of riots.

Their evil intent is summed up in this chilling warning. “We fight the cops with all our strength with bricks and petrol bombs, we maim them and kill them because we hate them.”

The anarchists hope there will be an explosion of violence to mark Prince Andrew's marriage to Sarah Ferguson on July 23.

As the Sunday Mirror revealed last week, the underground newspaper Class War showed a photo of the couple under the sick headline Better Dead Than Wed.


And an activist told us: “We would be over the moon if there were riots on the day of the Royal wedding.”

The Sunday Mirror has infiltrated several anarchist movements and we have uncovered their plot to join forces in a campaign of violence.

MI5 believe Angry Brigade urban guerillas are playing a sinister behind-the-scene role in the plot.

They have close links with terror groups abroad.

And they are also closely linked to the shadowy world of British anarchists.

The most active of the British cells is Class War whose driving force is former punk musician Ian Bone, 38.

Their charter states: “Together we can do our bit to smash the rich scum and their state, courts armies and lackeys.”

Class War has close ties with VIRUS, a communist-anarchist group who publish a paper called The Enemy Within.

The winter issue says: “Virus gives a welcome to the burning and looting...take it, it's yours! Burn it, it's rotten!”


A journal called Crowbar in Brixton, South London, offers advice on how to commit sabotage.

And BLACK FLAG, also based in Brixton, are thought to be linked with a Belgian terror group.

The Bristol-based group ACAB--which stands for All Coppers Are Bastards--call on their followers to attack expensive cars.

Their leaders often visit Ian Bone at his council flat in Hackney, North-East London.

This is the main way that informal links are made between British anarchist cells.

Intelligence chiefs know that most of the groups were active during the riots last year in Brixton and Tottenham.

They are likely to be the flashpoints again this year.

One police officers warned that anarchists might also start riots in other areas of London at the same time.


SECURITY chiefs are alarmed at the close cooperation between the Angry Brigade and terror organisations in Europe.

And our inquiries revealed that a meeting was held in London last year between leading UK anarchists and the Belgium terror group, CCC, the Cellules Communists Combattantes.

The CCC are linked with West Germany's Red Army Faction and with the ultra-Left French group Action Directe.

Intelligence services are now concerned that European expertise will lead to terrorists in Britain becoming more and more sophisticated.

A former police chief said: “The Angry Brigade has always had strong continental connections—that will continue to be the case.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This article was published May 17-23, 1987, in Toledo Magazine (The Blade)

FORGET COCAINE. The craze that's turning on Hollywood stars these days in “channeling.” This is the chic new term for old-fashioned seancing. But it isn't only the dead who are being drudged up for messages from beyond. “Entities” from other planets and dimensions are being “channeled” by today's medium's, who prefer to be known as “channels.”
Some of the biggest names in showbiz are reaching to the stars for spiritual guidance. Michael York, Richard Chamberlain, and “Dynasty” beauty Linda Evans are only a few of the Hollywood heavyweights involved with channeling. Other reportedly include George Lazenby, Leslie Ann Warren, Goldie Hawn, and Telly Savalas of “Kojak” fame.
“The drug of the 60's was LSD and marijuana,” says one disenchanted follower. “I think the drug of the 80's is cosmic consciousness.”
It's a small metaphysical world in Southern California, where it's said that you can't get a glass water without whipped cream. Everyone in this New School of Seancing knows each other—and the ranks of followers and actual channelers are swelling.
There are now said to be about 1,000 channelers—mostly based in the film capital of the world, but spreading across America. They believe they are the chosen spokesmen for the “New Transformational Age.”
This is how channeling works:
A channel, or medium, puts him or herself into a trance—this takes only a minute or less—and invites a specific “discarnate entity” to use his or her body to transmit information. These modern mediums don't use props like darkened lights or crystal balls. They say they can channel anywhere, anytime, and under any conditions.
One channel told me has gone into a trance on horseback.
America's best known channel is J.Z. Knight, a 40 year-old Bo Derek-lookalike. Ms. Knight claims to channel “Ramtha,” a 35,000 year-old man who has used her body to dispense wisdom since 1977.
Ms. Knight says she first saw Ramtha while she was playing with pyramids at her home. She placed a a pyramid on her head and Ramtha stepped into her life.
Ramtha now has a devoted cult following, mostly middle-aged women. Through Mr. Knight's “vehicle,” Ramtha claims to be warrior who created the first war, before ascending into higher consciousness.
Hundreds of devoted Ramtha supporters, including actress Shirley MacLaine, have moved to Washington state to live near Ms. Knight. This was after Ramtha announced that within three years death and destruction will come to America's less rural regions. Ramtha has advised his disciples to stock a two-year supply of food and other needs and to become self-sufficient by planting gardens.
Richard Chamberlain, star of “Shogun” and “The Thorn Birds,” used to host Ramtha's day-long sessions in his Beverly Hills mansion.
These days, followers pay $400 each for weekend group session with Ramtha.
And the profits don't stop there. Ms. Knight has become a multi-millionaire though the sale of Ramtha videotapes and other materials.
ANOTHER POPULAR channel is Darryl Anka, a 34 year-old special-effects designer who channels “Beshar.” Mr. Anka says that Beshar is “a non-physical entity from planet Essassani, which forms a triangle with Earth and the star Sirius.”
Mr. Anka used to do his channeling at the homes of followers, with mabe six or eight persons present. He had grown so popular that he now uses the Encino Women's Club in the valley, near some of Hollywood's largest film studios.
I went to see Mr. Anka's Thursday-night session. About 150 followers had assembled to either seek advice or for a learning experience. Each had paid a “donation” of $12.
I watched as Mr. Anka, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, put himself into a trance. He sat in a simple wooden chair on a well-lighted stage.
Mr. Anka closed his eyes and his head began to twitch. He grunted a few times. He settled back in his chair, his eyes still closed, and a strange, powerful voice erupted from his mouth. It carried an unusual accent.
He was in what enthusiasts call an “altered state.” In the course of 2 ½ hours, Beshar dispensed his wisdom and answered questions from the audience. One follower asked about a friend who had recently died of cancer.
Came Beshar's reply:
“She is still here and now, fourth dimension physical. There is orientation going on—assistance that is necessary to acclimate the being to the new understanding of what you call the astral realm. There is also the opportunity being presented this individual that she can function for a while as spiritual guides for her own children. There may be—for this not yet decided—but there may be an opportunity for this individual to reincarnate as one of her own children's children.
The audience oohed and aahed. They were begging to believe. But it was higher intelligence from outer space or metaphysical mumbo-jumbo?
BESHAR SOON pronounced it was time for a coffee break. The hall grew quiet as he twitched and turned and grunted, and within 30 seconds re-opened his eyes and became plain old Darryl again.
The applause was deafening. There are believers.
Darryl told me that Beshar first came to him 12 years ago in a spaceship. He channels Beshar in private sessions, and he's booked up two months in advance.
I am not convinced that Darryl was in a trance. Anyone who studies the numerous books on UFOs, reincarnation, spiritual growth, and self-healing could spill out the same material as “Beshar.'' The essence of Beshar's guidance was “lighten up.”
One Beshar follower is David Rapkin, a psychotherapist. Dr. Rapkin told me that channeling sessions provide him with practical instruction for his patients.
He is not certain that the messenger is really from outer space, but thinks that is unimportant. It is possible, Dr. Rapkin speculates, that the channel “accesses” into his own unconscious throuh self-induced hypnosis.
“But it doesn't matter who or what the messenger is,” he says, “it is the message that counts.”
Dr. Rapkin claims that he can now channel himself. He told me that his spiritual guide is called “Monocles.”
A grand session of channeling was recently staged at the Pasadena Convention Center in Los Angeles. It was billed as the main attraction of a three-day Whole Life Expo.
The channeling event was sold out weeks in advance—3,000 people at $35 each, packed the large hall to see American television celebrity Joyce DeWitt introduce two of the most popular channels in the business.
They are:
Jack Pursel, a former insurance salesman who channels an entity called “Lazaris,” and Kevin Ryerson, from the Midwest, who was featured on Shirley MacLaine's recently broadcast television movie, “Out On A Limb.” Mr. Ryerson channels two entities: “John,” a scholar from the year 46 B.C., and “Tom McPherson,” an Irish-Scottish pickpocket from Shakespearian times.
Mr. Pursel's Lazaris sounds like a Billy Graham-style evangelist. He preaches love and inner peace.
Actor Michael York is a big supporter of Lazaris. He has accompanied and promoted Mr. Pursel on several American television talk shows.
Along with J.Z. Knight, Pursel and Ryerson make up the Big Three in the channeling movement.
Mr. Pursel says that “the majority of Lazaris followers are college graduates, and a good number of these are post-graduates. Lots of doctors, lots of lawyers, psychologists—successful, upper-middle income people.”
It takes 12 to 18 months to get a private consultation with Lazaris.
AND LAZARIS is big business. Mr. Pursel sells videos and cassettes and runs two New Age galleries, Illuminaria and Isis Unlimited.
He charms his audience by saying that many of them are former residents of Atlantis. He says they have come back to get a second chance at preventing world destruction.
Pursel bills Lazaris as “the Consummate Friend.”
Next to me in the audience at Pasadena sat Naville Rowe, a New Zealander who lived in London for 12 years before settling in West Hollywood.
Mr. Rowe told me that he can transform himself into a dolphin, and he teaches other how to turn into dolphins through channeling.
“I couldn't believe it,” says Mr. Rowe. “My mouth began to suck air and my forehead made squeaky noises. Next thing I knew, I was one of the dolphins, swimming with them.”
Mr. Rowe says that he channels “Kachuba,” which he describes as the consciousness of six dolphins scattered around the oceans.
THE CHANNELING movement is a real social whirl.
Susan Levin has organized a forum for channels called Conscious Connection. This evolved out of a “metaphysical singles” dating service called Mix and Match.
She is also involved in a series of cable television programs on channeling.
Conscious Connection publishes a 24-page magazine of the same name every two months. Its circulation has grown to an astonishing 25,000 over the last six months.
There are skeptics to spoil the fun. They try to bring the stars back down to Earth.
“Channels give simplistic answers, and they give you that touch of magic and the esoteric,” says Gerald Larue, professor emeritus of religion at the University of Southern California.
“It's a typical religious experience, and there are benefits,” Professor Larue says. “It's uplifting, but it's not real. You have to come back for another fix, like a drug addiction.”
Reginald Alev, executive director of the Cult Awareness Network in Chicago, also takes a dim view.
“It's very sad what's going on,” says Mr. Alev. “Most of the people who get involved in these New Age groups want to know the meaning of life, and someone comes along and tells them they have the answer.
“Then they're told they're the master of their own destiny, but they don't know they are being subjected to mind control.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


This article appeared in the Toronto Star in 1985.
Call it involuntary servitude, illegal bondage... call it what you will.
But when a human being, with or without proper working papers, is forced to work against his will, under threat of physical violence, you have enslavement, pure and simple.
It is 118 years since the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in the United States, and this wicked practice endures.
For almost a year, a House of Representatives subcommittee on labor standards has been hearing testimony on the federal government's failure to adequately investigate numerous reports of migrant farm workers being held in illegal bondage and peonage in remote parts of the Southwest and Midwest United States.
Vincent Trivelli, a professional staff member of the subcommittee, told me that 24 separate complaints about one farm were not investigated by the justice of labor departments until subcommittee began its investigation.
At a hearing on Sept. 23, a Roman Catholic nun told congressmen that since 1980 she has been operating an improvised “underground railroad”--an escape route for “slaves” in southwest Virginia whose pleas for help had been ignored by local law enforcement officials.
One of those rescued by Sister Adele Della Valle, 47-year-old Horace Taft, gave this chilling account of his experience picking sweet potatoes after being recruited and transported south from his native Philadelphia:
“It was just horrible, the things I seen at those camps. I see men beat with rubber hoses. I seen women beat. There was always someone guarding and watching you. You couldn't get away because they were sitting out there with guns.”
“It is my conviction,” testified Sister Valle, “that the men who begged us to (help them) leave did so out of desperation to get away.”
How it works
Sister Valle cited the inhumane conditions under which farmworkers are being held—long hours, appalling food, no heat in winter, no medical care—and she declared that the system which permits workers to become indebted to their employers from the moment they arrive at a work camp is “tantamount to slavery.”
This is how the system works:
Legal and illegal migrant farm workers are recruited by a middleman, a “coyote,” who transports them to remote farms. The coyote is paid a flat rate (about $200) by the farm owner or crew leader for each new recruit. The moment the workers reach their destination—most notorious are farm camps in Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina and Florida—they become indebted to their new boss for the inflated cost of their transportation.
For 16-hour work days, seven days a week, they are paid a piece-rate wage that usually falls far short of the $3.35-an-hour minimum wage, it itself illegal. But because the workers have been grossly overcharged, on credit, for meals lodging, cigarettes and liquor, the balance owed them is in the red—so they remain continually in debt to their crew leader.
Any attempt to leave the camp is met with threats of physical violence. While working, they are watched by armed guards. There have been cases where dissatisfied workers have been set upon by dogs, locked up or put in chains. Some who have escaped have found local sheriffs unsympathetic; often they are returned to the custody of their crew leader.
The view of some North Carolina sheriffs is summed by sheriff's deputy J.P. Thornton of Johnson County: “99.9 percent of the migrants are bums, drunks, winos, been burned up on drugs or else are running from the law, and they aren't going to stay anywhere else than in that environment.”
Steven Nagler, executive director of the U.S. Migrant Legal Action Organization, estimates that up to 100,000 agricultural workers are held in illegal bondage in the Land of the Free. A former Peace Corps volunteer and civil rights lawyer, Nagler has been monitoring reports of slavery among farm workers for 3 ½ years.
His greatest lobbying triumph came last June when the North Carolina legislature felt compelled to enact state anti-slavery legislation. The new statute makes the holding of another in involuntary servitude punishable by a five-year prison term and a hefty fine. This followed the federal conviction of two Americans in 1982 in New Bern, N.C., for “strong-arm kidnapping” and holding farm workers in involuntary servitude on a farm camp in Nash County.
Recruit died
Brothers Dennis and Richard Warren had recruited migrant workers and unemployed street people in cities along the eastern seaboard. One of their recruits, Robert Anderson, later collapsed and died in the fields when forced to work after complaining that he felt ill. Ironically, the Warren brothers are black. Both received long prison terms.
There have been similar convictions in other states; about 35 cases are pending in Florida, Arkansas, Texas, and in Michigan, and even in affluent Beverly Hills, California.
In January, 1982, FBI agents acting on a tip-off raided several homes in Beverly Hills and uncovered what they alleged to be a slave ring. Ed Best, special agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, said that at least 30 Indonesians had been sold into servitude as domestics for $3,000 each. They had been recruited by a travel agent in Jakarta and brought in to the United States under false pretences by slavers who confiscated their documents. They were expected to remain with their “owners” for a minimum of two years, without payment.
An agent of the U.S. Immigration Service, Ambrose Laverty, said that those who tried to run away were “threatened with bodily harm.” Said Laverty: “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
The Los Angeles Times quoted one woman as saying, when served by subpoena by the FBI, “All my neighbors have illegal aliens working for them.” She had paid $6,000 to a Los Angeles “employment agency,” which she declined to name, for two illegal domestics.
Since 1980 there have been 25 federal slavery convictions, Susan King, a young justice department lawyer, told me that slavery in the United States is wide-ranging. But she pinpointed domestic servants, migrant farm workers and members of religious cults as the most vulnerable. King said that her most recent case, in which arrests were made, involved dairy farmers who enslaved elderly retarded men.
King and a colleague, Albert Glenn, constitute the involuntary servitude department. Together, they appear to have their hands full.