The Endgame – A Memoir


Chronologically may still be the best way to explain everything, even if it’s more personal than I would like. It’s been front-loaded with the parts that hit me the most (and I, subsequently, have had a lot to say on those topics). That’s the reality of growing up. When we are young, our world is small and we are victims of our immediate surroundings. As we get older, we expand our knowledge and reach until we know and become a part of those surroundings and the larger landscape. However, my small world was sitting on a main artery and poisoning the larger landscape. 

At first, it seemed localized enough.

A solution was finally found for the problem of the recruiter having to hide me from her own family. She decided that my new home would be in a series of side offices and safehouses in New Haven, Connecticut. They generally had extra rooms, a shower, and a kitchen. Each one also had a petty cash box. I was expected to record every cent I spent from that box, even if it had been on a 10-cent lemon-flavored candy from the small corner store down the street, so the woman who now owned me for life could be reimbursed for the “business expense” of keeping me. 

On top of being her personal errand girl and medical cash cow, I was now also living right under the noses and in the view of whichever government agency or contractor was funding the operations for those locations. Unless anyone in clearance-level accounting offices can genuinely claim they believed it was an adult recording 10-cent midday purchases of lemon and baked bean flavored candies from the corner store. It’s somewhat doubtful anyone intelligent enough to be hired for the job would be that dumb. 

I was eight years old when we hit New Haven, and ten when I started going to the corner store on my own and the petty cash box procedures for that purpose were introduced to me.

Life in my New Haven accomodations had some interesting moments. Often, the space was ours exclusively, and the recruiter would sleep in the front living room or office like a sentry, despite there usually being an extra bedroom in the back that she could have used, in addition to one I occupied. Sometimes, we would have unexpected guests when people needed to use the space. I remember coming home one evening to discover roughly twenty-five refugees crammed into the two spacious front rooms, refugees from the same region of political instability that had left me in the hands of the recruiter. 

Looking back on it, I wonder if they even knew they were in a government-funded apartment, or if they had been told they were being protected by individual citizens who cared. When they saw the recruiter, did any of them remember her as “Alicia from the Journalism Department” at the University of Buenos Aires and feel relief? Or would that have brought them apprehension? 

While sitting there, huddled in my living room, they just looked like a group of people being manipulated and moved around the country until someone could come up with a way to utilize them. History uses a heavy brush as it paints us as radicals and federal agents, as freedom fighters and military, victims and CIA, but it often forgets that we’re all just people, as fallible and vulnerable as the next, and thrown into the midst of it all. We still need to eat and to find a soft spot to rest our heads at the end of the night. 

Frequently, we slept with our captors. 

For a while, things heated up on a personal level as the recruiter was ducking Child Protective Services. She decided to get me out of town. While doing networking on location, she gave me a tent, introduced me to some of the organizers, let me listen in on their conversations, and then left me on my own to spend time on The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, the 1986 3,700 mile walking journey from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. 

(Yes, I missed school that year.)

Image Source: Online Archive of California

“The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament took place in 1986 starting in Los Angeles on March 1 and ending in Washington, D.C. on November 15. It was conceived by David Mixner, a professional organizer and political activist.”

Text Source: Online Archive of California

Let me be very clear in this. While promoted under the banner of a good cause, that peace walk was primarily intended to clean up Los Angeles by relocating a large group of homeless out of the city. The peace walk used celebrity activists as lures and promised the homeless and disenfranchised that if they came along they would have free mobile medical support, a dentist, a mobile post office, shelter to sleep in each night, community, three meals a day, laundry service, access to water, and everything they could need and had struggled to attain. 

Image: Peace March Mobile Post Office, 1986, Source, Dan Coogan via Flickr 

Image: Great Peace March Mobile Dental Clinic, 1986,  Source: Jeff Share

Images: Great Peace March 1986 

Image Source: Jeff Share

All the homeless had to do in exchange was walk each day. The organizers were a modern Pied Piper. Much like the Orphan Trains that had cleared impoverished youth from the streets of San Francisco, the Great Peace March was cleaning up California by redistributing their buildup of impoverished to other sections of the country.

Image: Orphan Train

Image Source: Louisiana’s Old State Capitol

Image Source: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Social Welfare History Project

“During the 1850s there were thousands of children living on the streets of several major cities.

Between 1854 and 1929, Orphan Trains moved approximately 200,000 children from cities like New York and Boston to the American West to be adopted…

At any one time, there were between 30 and 40 children, infants to teens, traveling with two or three adult chaperones. The children often had no idea where they were going, and were only told that they were going to take a train ride…

“I’d just finished eating and this matron came by and tapped us along the head. ‘You’re going to Texas. You’re going to Texas.’ … I looked up. I said, ‘I can’t go. I’m not an orphan. My mother’s still living. She’s in a hospital right here in New York.’ ‘You’re going to Texas.’ No use arguing.” —Hazelle Latimer (Orphan Train rider)…

The confused and often frightened children lost contact with their families back in their hometowns and, those who were old enough, were encouraged to make a complete break with their past. When the children arrived in the new area where they were to live, there was no formal process to place them with new families. There were only handbills that announced the distribution of groups of needy children that brought crowds of prospective parents to view and choose children. Although the Children’s Aid Society made a point of emphasizing the success stories of children who were well cared for and loved, the outcome of the placements in general was mixed. Some of the farming families saw the children only as cheap labor.”

Text Source: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Social Welfare History Project

I can’t help but notice that they’ve taken to using the same well-practiced domestic methodologies and tactics over even longer distances and international borders since then for both children and impoverished adults. California and major cities in the United States may have been frequent utilizers of the services in the beginning, but as time went on, they would not be the only areas the U.S. had involvement in that would come to have an overabundance of poor to disburse. As we move through history and it becomes closer and thus clearer, the growing involvement of destabilizing Intelligence objectives becomes more obvious. 

There is a major problem with the methodology, and it goes far beyond the inconveniences it causes in the intake areas where the people have been disbursed. When an area creates more impoverished and/or criminal elements than it can manage, allowing it to simply remove those people from their community is not actually beneficial to that community in the long run. It does not create a responsible government and culture in that area. This is because, without having to continuously face the issues they cause – primarily a large portion of their people becoming impoverished – they do not learn how to solve the problem healthily and within their own communities and regions. They don’t have to. Someone else will take the problem off their hands and hide it away where they no longer have to see it. Thus, they continue to veer off course, creating a situation in which their people are likely to become impoverished, and the rest of the world continues to have to absorb the people of that failed and irresponsible system. No one wins unless they happen to be a sadistic warlord who likes the giggles caused by creating unnecessary human suffering and an unsustainable mess. 

There is a certain danger that comes with painting every harm as something beneficial. People cling to the illusion long after they should let it go.

As a child, I simply adapted to the peace-march life and did what I tended to do when given a situation. I made the best of it. I came to know the drivers of the buses carrying supplies so that I could get a ride each day and avoid having to walk. The driver of the kitchen bus happened to have children. It wasn’t difficult to embed myself with them. While everyone else was walking, I was playing or helping the mobile kitchen.

Image: Peace March Support Vehicles, 1986, Source, Flickr, Dan Coogan

Image: Great Peace March, 1986, Source: Jeff Share

After the peace walk, I was hidden away in a much different setting – an empty condo in the hills of Hamden, a quiet and comfortable community next to New Haven. Bored and stuck staring at the blank walls there for months on end, I entertained myself by dancing around the bedroom and imagining that I was a famous singer. I named myself Roxana. The first time I told the recruiter, she responded that it was a terrible name, a prostitute’s name, and to pick a better one. She suggested Foxine. I went along, I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time analyzing why the name Roxana had such a strong reaction in her. Years later, I would find out it was because it had been my mother’s name. I had kept little parts of her buried in my memory all those years. When I saw myself filled with pride and self-esteem in the bathroom mirror while pretending to be a rock star, it was her I saw reflected in the glass, and her name I had taken to encapsulate that moment.  

Some things will always surface.

Don’t lie to people about themselves and who they come from.

The recruiter was still up to making money on the side. That is, if it was the side. Where the line blurred between government pay and personal side hustle was always difficult to distinguish with her – she drove back and forth over it like a drunk person. And one of the times started so innocently that I actually thought it was going to be something normal and sane…

She didn’t give me modern or brand new toys, ever, so when I asked her for a Cabbage Patch Kid, her original response of “no” was expected. However, when she learned they came with customized adoption certificates, her eyes lit up and I would shortly end up with a series of the dolls. I treasured those dolls and their adoption certificates, which I kept in their own special drawer next to my bed. 

One after another, the adoption certificates would go missing from my drawer while I slept. And why would that be? The recruiter had sidled up to and started sleeping with a man who worked with actual adoption records, for humans and not Cabbage Patch dolls. His name was Tom Flanders, and he was working with adoption records for the Pequot and Paugussett tribes in Connecticut. 

Image Source: DewHirst Funeral Home

“A graduate degree in Comprehensive Healthcare from Harvard University…Trained with tribal elders…teaching Native American culture…In the early 1980s, Tom relocated relocated work more closely with the Native American community of Central Connecticut.”

Image Source: DewHerst Funeral Home

Image Source: MyHeritage

“Native American traditions with medicine man Tom Flanders…”

Text Source: MyHeritage

She would tell him that I had lost my doll’s certificate and that I was devastated, and get him to pull a genuine adoption certificate from work and fill it in with the “doll’s info” which the recruiter provided to him. I would receive the certificate from him, and that too would go missing from my drawer by the next morning. By the third or fourth doll, I didn’t even bother getting attached. 

And those adoption certificates? One of them had the first and last name of a child I would meet through the recruiter around that same time, the same child who was there with me drugged out of his mind at one of the cancer research trials. Another had that child’s sister’s first and last name, and the third adoption certificate – a few years later, I would meet a girl with that exact first, middle, and last name. It probably wasn’t a coincidence. I know the first two weren’t. I overheard the conversations between the adults. Those were the documents they were using to legitimize illegal adoptions, a deceptively mundane name for kidnappings.  

So, when I look back at my first collection of brand-new and trendy dolls, I’m stuck with nothing but guilt over my unwitting participation in the trafficking of my friends. 

I won’t be publishing the names of the abducted kids without their permission. After a lifetime in the U.S., knowing nothing else, some may choose not to go through the hassle of having their citizenship questioned. I’ve left that to the individuals and informed two of them. In a world that does nothing for us, I wouldn’t blame them if they choose to remain in the country they were forced to build their lives in. They have lives there now, and those lives are their own. None of us owe the human trafficking intake country a thing. They turned their backs on and were complicit in our abductions and continued captivity. This failed civilization has already taken everything from us. If I give you anything, if I give you knowledge, don’t think it’s because I owe you something. I don’t. I do it because it’s painful to watch people kill their own children in their attempted suicide-by-military and I’m seeking to reach the few who would prefer not to be that, and who might still have the balls and intellect to choose a different path.

Next: Cohorts