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Slavery at Cariad Farm

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Slavery at Cariad Farm Reply with quote

A few weeks ago, some friends and I were happily chatting in a well known Abergavenny pub, when we saw some astonishing info on the silent ribbon of news that went along at the bottom of the screen on the TV in the background. It was switched to the News channel but had the volume off.

The story was that the police had just raided a place ironically called Cariad Farm to release people who had been held in slavery. We have, of course, heard of people trafficking. We have even heard that contrary to public opinion which is that slavery must have been abolished some time in the nineteenth century, there are more slaves in the world now than there have ever been before.

Yet, somehow, the feeling we had was one of de-realisation. It couldn't be true. I had only recently been looking down on places like Saudi Arabia and the American South for having slavery until comparatively recently. That very week George Osborne had unveiled plans for something that might loosely be called slavery.

But this was something else, chattel slavery in Cymru bach, just outside Cardiff in the twenty-first century! A friend who had heard about this before, told us that one emaciated man had been taken into protective custody. He was now in hospital and it was touch and go whether he would live or not. I speculated that he looked as if he had just been released from Belsen. "Oh, worse than that !" said the friend. It was hard to imagine how it could be worse.

The same friend told us that the police were now digging up Cariad Farm looking for a body. The search has now concluded without recovering a corpse. It is impossible to say if this is good news or not. Is it that no murder has happened or that the remains have been so cleverly disposed of that the guilty parties can evade justice?

It remains to be seen if this awful story is the tip of a much bigger iceberg. Our instinctive feeling is to think it can't be happening. But nothing is ever too bad to be true. It behoves us to be vigilant. This also shows why organisations should not have arbitrary and rigid rules.

In 2000 a vulnerable man from Kidderminster went missing on holiday in Porthcawl. He had been taken by slavers and was later found at Cariad Farm. He had managed to speak to his family a few times between 2000 and 2013 on a borrowed mobile phone. When they sought help in tracing him, they had the response that if he had spoken to them on the phone, he wasn't a missing person.

We will probably find out the full story only when the court case is over. We can only hope that the courts will throw the book at these insensate animals in human form.

Last edited by marianneh on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:42 pm    Post subject: Poor Dental Hygiene-Puts-Slavery-in-Perspective Reply with quote

I knew a woman in Cardiff who was in an abusive relationship. Her 'boyfriend' took all the money. She was half starved and all her ribs were visible. She couldn't afford luxuries like tooth paste so she finally lost a few teeth. When she washed up in a Women's Refuge, the inmates and even the staff regarded her with distaste. She was such a scruffy frump.

Sam Vaknin, the 'self aware' narcissist, warns that victims in narcissistic relationships are likely to be blamed, disbelieved and discounted because they look unkempt and they are sometimes loud and emotional.

Narcissistic abusers are often great actors, suave, charming with an 'undefinable air of 'savoir faire'. They mimic honest astonishment very well when confronted with their bad behaviour, and are often able to make themselves look like the victim of crazy, unfounded accusations.

This blaming of the victim for looking a mess was seen at its most offensive height when the Cariad Farm Slavery case came to court. One of the formerly enslaved people had lost a tooth, and his remaining teeth looked a bit jagged. No wonder. He had not been able to go to the chemists to buy toiletries.

The defence lawyer looked at him in contempt and said,''We have seen pictures of your teeth, and they don't look very well cared for. It was not the responsibility of the people who, you claim, kept you in slavery to clean your teeth, was it? It was yours! They would have given you a toothbrush if you had asked for one, wouldn't they?'' ''I suppose so'', mumbled the vulnerable adult. I'm pretty sure they would have done no such thing.

The one good thing about this disgraceful episode is that it shows what a terrible case the defence team has that it has to resort to this sort of ludicrous attack on the plaintiff. Even if the plaintiff had bad teeth because of his own innate depravity as opposed to depression or lack of funds, what difference could that make? There's no exemption in human rights legislation that permits the enslaving of those with poor dental hygiene.

It's a terrible indictment of our criminal legal system that this kind of bullying of vulnerable witnesses is permitted. The problem is that with our adversarial system, the defence barrister is not constrained by decency, consideration or even relevance. He 'knows only one person, and that person is his client'. When the client has a terrible case, the barrister will often make terrible verbal attacks on a witness or especially the plaintiff, just to distract the jury from the points at issue. It really is 'cutting up salami' where vulnerable witnesses are concerned.

The criminal law system in England -and now Wales too - has its origins in trial by combat where each side has to have a champion. Although they are supposed to be fighting with relevant facts instead of lances, the combative ethos often prevents the full picture coming out.

As late as 1818, one man demanded trial by literal combat as opposed to trial by jury, and that was what led to the former option being speedily abolished.Another problem is that witnesses are supposed to tell 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.'but the barrister often prevents this happening by refusing to allow witnesses to finish what they intended to say, or tying them up in verbal knots.In the continental system, it is axiomatic that the witness should not be interrupted.

Now that there are serious attempts to prevent bullying in the workplace, and the emotional abuse of children by their parents is set to be made a crime, how can this egregious bullying of people who are not even themselves on trial be allowed to continue in the justice system itself? It's time for an overhaul.

Last edited by marianneh on Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: 13 years a slave Reply with quote

Am I the only one who thinks that the sentence of 4.5 years given to the slave holder of Cariad Farm was derisory? Apparently, the judge could give the defendant no more than this because forced labour was not an offence in the UK until 2010, by which time this human rights abuse had already been going on for 10 years!

Can this really be right? Was slavery legal in the UK up to 2010? Was it not covered by the human rights act of 2000 which hasn't been abolished yet? Wasn't it illegal under some other piecemeal bit of legislation even before 2000? What kind of country are we living in?

In 2007, coins were struck showing broken chains with the motto '1807-2007' to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade. Media figures were sighing, ''To think this repugnant human rights abuse was actually legal until 1807!'' OK, the slave trade is not the same thing as slavery.

But I don't think any of the fidgety viewers listening to these appropriate but predictable remarks, imagined that even then slavery itself was still legal in the UK, and would be for another 3 years. I can hardly believe it now! Have we got this right?

Furthermore, even the judge sounded confused about what sort of crime he was dealing with. He told the defendant, ''You treated this man little better than a slave.'' 'Little Better' doesn't come into it.He treated him as a slave, pure and simple. He literally was a slave for 13 years, one year longer than the writer of 'Twelve Years a Slave.'

I agreed with one remark though. The phrase, 'very inadequate individual' sounds harsh, but it was just about right for this evil scumbag. How had he never managed to develop any scruples? Didn't he ever acquire enough of a conscience to know it was wrong to take advantage of a gentle, vulnerable person in this way?

But then I read the report with more attention. It was not the defendant but the plaintiff who was being described as very inadequate! I thought he had suffered enough without having to take insults as well.

This is old fashioned terminology. These days, it is often bullies who are described as inadequate. People say that bullying is a sign of weakness, not strength.

Someone described Putin as a 'weak bully'. But you wouldn't really call the victim strong either. He could obviously have done with assertiveness training. Perhaps describing people as weak or strong is not very helpful.

Am I being contradictory in saying that to show how much we value freedom, this tin pot Pharaoh should have been given life without parole? Don't we need to send a clear message that this sort of behaviour will be dealt with, with condign severity? Is it a contradiction in terms to say that we need a society where compassion has teeth?

The victim's father spoke outside the court. In a marked Midlands accent, he implored the people of Wales and the rest of the UK to be vigilant, and to look out for this kind of human rights violation.

That's just what we haven't been doing. I'd been reading a Penguin classic version of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' because the blurb said it was the only book other than the Bible and the Koran known to have caused a war, and because Dafydd ap Celer Thomas said it was a tremendous read.

It was too, pacey, powerful with marvellous dialogue, not at all the pious, trashy tear jerker it is often dismissed as today. I picked it up in Newport Library. But not once did it occur to me to take my nose out of the book and look around Newport to see if it contained slaves in 2009 or 2010.

What should we look out for? Will we be given guidelines?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Oppressed-so-hard-he-could-not-stand Reply with quote

'Week in Week out' has interviewed the parents of the former slave of Cariad Farm. They say that their son was developmentally well advanced as a baby until one day he had convulsions.

After that he regressed somewhat. As an older child, there was some evidence of learning difficulties, but it was not very marked.

What was more apparent was that he was suggestible and too nice for his own good. If you said, ''That's a nice jacket you're wearing; I'd like one like that'', he'd take it off and give it to you. He came across as meek rather than dull witted in the TV interview.

Before I go any further, I should say that I am a quarter Irish and there are rumours that my mother's family were originally Romany Gypsies. I hate racist talk about either of these groups.

I don't know what the origins of Irish travellers are, and I don't think they know themselves. In Irish they are known as 'the walking folk'. Although they have or used to have a language called Shelta, they are often red haired and freckled like many other Irish people, and have typically Irish surnames.

There are stories that nomads were native to Ireland in the early centuries AD. It's also been alleged that the ancestors of Irish travellers took to the roads and hedgerows in response to one of the endless economic crises much later in Irish history, perhaps as late as the famine of the 1840s.

Because they are often cordially hated by house dwelling people, my instinct is to support them. But the fact is racism works both ways. There is evidence that not just the Dorans of Cariad Farm who are at fault.Some other Irish travellers in Britain do look out for vulnerable or homeless people, whom they call dossers, to exploit as unfree labour.

Apparently, some braggarts like the Pasha of Cariad Farm feel that it is a status symbol to have servants and retainers who are not themselves of traveller stock. It is a sign that you have arrived.

Also, I suspect, they have less compunction about pushing outsiders around. The Latin for slave is 'servus'. Our word slave is derived form Slav. In the late Middle Ages, Slavs made popular slaves in western Europe.

Then, as Native Americans were believed to be useless, and would unsportingly will themselves to die rather than submit to a day's forced labour, slaves were imported into the Americas from Africa. The common factor was that it is easier to exploit outsiders.

The slavers must be well trained in picking up on other people's vulnerabilities. This leads to the question, how can vulnerable people be protected from abuse?

It is generally true that the less intelligent a person is, the more suggestible they will be. But keeping those with learning difficulties in asylums is no good. It is, itself, a human rights abuse as it is a from of imprisonment.

Nor is it really possible to have an asylum from the world, as the asylum is in the world. Investigations have shown that the staff who worked in these places often treated the inmates without respect, commonly saying things like ''Here's your sodding breakfast. I hope it makes you sick.''

That was the mildest form of abuse. Much worse things could happen. It's really exasperating that people who worked in asylums or were drawn to them were often seen as saintly people. It's to be hoped that the Jimmy Savile scandal has blown that idea out of the water.

But care in the community usually means no care in the community.I think it's really an intractable problem. Some problems don't have solutions, at least not watertight solutions.

We can have assertiveness classes and counselling. But it must be remembered that some so called therapists are drawn to working with helpless characters because they are themselves bullies and abusers.

We can't guard against every psychopathic act. What we can do is encourage our friends and children to respect everyone including the vulnerable, but to be a bit cynical as well.

Don't put anyone on a pedestal. Abuse is most likely to happen in a hierarchical and deferential society.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Marianne,

I have come back this morning to read your further piece in this thread and I am full of admiration for your almost casual introduction into it of such classic themes from Republican politics as the repudiation of the English Law's use of adversarial court procedures in favour of the inquisitorial procedures advocated by Republicanism. Perhaps when we finally kick the English Legal system out of Wales we can secure justice free for everyone when they really need it - especially for those who under the English Legal System can have no hope of justice because they are socially disadvantaged by so many of those factors which are almost inevitably to be associated with lifetimes lived out in poverty. When the wealthy know that anyone can sue them with the help of the rest of us in society through our making freely available without charge the greatest of all public goods - The Rule of Law - they will not be so confidently inclined to harm others. Have you noted that one of the first casualties of Cameron's and Clegg's cuts in the past five years has been the Legal Aid System ? The reason is blatently obvious - that their main targets have been those dependent upon various welfare benefits who might have received public money to challenge their misdemeanours against society.

In the past thirty five years all of the Democratic parties who have obtained elected representatives have subscribed to if not actually implemented a vicious combination of driving wages down below the cost of living and introducing and proliferating the employment practices which promote job insecurity such that people accept longer and often unpaid hours which face The People of Wales with the choice between lower wages and no wages - and no choice in the matter of being able to find the time to attend to the care of the more vulnerable members of their families ... and what then happens to the latter ? Whether it is children placed into foster homes or adults onto the streets or the elderly into hospitals the bottom line is that this remedy is the one favoured by ' The Wealthfare State ' in which the main benefit is drawn by the corporations. in Philip Petit's version of Republicanism he emphasises that the key value to be concerned with is ' Non-Domination.'


i.e. that ' The Welfare State ' is a form of slavery when it is converted from providing relief for the vulnerable into a system designed to create vulnerability which it then mockingly pretends to relieve by creating a permanent dependency by the poor upon a system of welfare benefits designed not as a relief from misfortune but as the provision for those more fortunate of a permanent subsidy to their wealth in the form of low wages subsidised from taxation taking from the less fortunate taxpayers - which is a form of ' wealthfare ' to those corporations which do not even pay taxes ! Thirty five years ago we all talked of ' wage slavery ' but at least then the jobs were secure and if you lost your job then claiming welfare benefits not the nightmare that it is now - and even in part-time work thirty five years ago we did not need to claim benefits of any sort because those on the minimum statutory wages set by the various Wages' Councils could feed, clothe and house themselves by living in a bedsit - and were often able to save enough money to go on an annual holiday !

Now when The People in Wales are starting out upon adult life they are not only unlikely to ever spend a substantial amount of time living beyond wealthfare dependency but they are likely now to actually die indebted to the United Kingdom's proprietors if they have been taken advantage of by its cynical offer of a student loan-for-life ... and you and I know what will happen to that promise that these loans need never be paid off if The People of Wales are too poor to be able to : The Demockerats of the United Kingdom will sell those loans to foreign corporations and introduce ' workfare ' schemes for the mass unemployed to repay the interest - perpetually ! Now even slaves are kept alive with the minimum provision for their welfare for the benefit of their possessors who historically kept their perpetually immanent revolt constantly delayed by displacing their frustration onto others in sports that divided them and licenced them to abuse each other, typically to indicate that the most vulnerable amongst them was even more contemptible than themselves that they might rejoice in enslaving another : they were in fact taught to do just this in 19c public schools such as Eton where nearly all of the United Kingdom's prime ministers were brought up in a state of savagery disguised with posh accents ... this is the celebrated culture to be found at the heart of the United Kingdom which The Demockerats in Westminister learn to ape, and they regard ourselves - and our property - as their's to use and to abuse : whatever, however and whenever they wish to subject us to, because we are neither citizens nor citizennes - we are their ' subjects.'
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:08 am    Post subject: Long Trek to Freedom Reply with quote

The parents of Darrell Simester, the former slave at Cariad Farm, were pretty disgusted by the unhelpfulness of the police and other bodies all the years they were searching for their son. Perhaps it was not recognised how extremely vulnerable he was.

Darrell's mother Jean has now written a book, 'Darrell's Walk to Freedom: Thirteen Years a Slave.' In this, she reveals that her son has now been belatedly diagnosed as suffering from autism.

This explains why he was so defenceless. Although capable of manual labour, he found it difficult to care for himself, partly because of his inborn difficulties in organising himself, and partly because of the oppression under which he lived.

During these awful years, he developed a hernia, had to wash in a horse trough, had the most disgusting and primitive toilet arrangements, and had problems with his teeth. It would be lovely to think that the Dorans' defence barrister now feels thoroughly ashamed of taunting Mr Simester on his bad teeth. But it seems unlikely.

I discuss the vulnerability of people on the autistic spectrum to abuse further in 'Those Whose Children Lie Upon the Stones.'
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