January 5, 2018

'Ambulance of death' to boost business of mafia-linked funeral home

Paramedic 'killed patients in ambulance to get payout from their funerals in mafia scheme'

Italian police have arrested an ambulance worker on suspicion of killing people to earn money from funeral homes linked to the mafia. Davide Garofalo, 42, is alleged to have injected air into the veins of terminally ill patients to end their lives as they were transported from a hospital to their homes. He is said to have then put victims' grieving families in touch with undertakers, pocketing $300 (£265) for each corpse.

Three other people are under investigation in the case, dubbed the "ambulances of death" scandal by Italian media.The claims first came to light when a reformed mafia member tipped off an investigative TV programme and police in the Sicilian city of Catania.

Mr Garofalo worked for a private ambulance company that transported patients to and from a hospital in nearby Biancavilla. He is alleged to have injected air into each victim's bloodstream, causing a fatal embolism, as they were transported home to spend the remainder of their lives with their families instead in hospital. Mr Garofalo has been charged with three counters of voluntary homicide.

But police believe there could be many more victims of the mafia scheme, which they say may have been in operation since 2012.Investigators have examined the deaths of 50 patients, 12 of which are considered "particularly meaningful," according to a prosecutor.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:36 AM | Permalink

October 26, 2017

"There is a big market for dead bodies"

This Reuters Investigative Report on the trade of human bodies by Brian Grow and John Shiffman will give you second thoughts if you plan to donate your body after your death.

In the U.S. market for human bodies, almost anyone can dissect and sell the dead

Part 1: When Americans leave their bodies to science, they are also donating to commerce: Cadavers and body parts, especially those of the poor, are sold in a thriving and largely unregulated market. Grisly abuses abound.
Southern Nevada, the inspectors learned, was a so-called body broker, a company that acquires dead bodies, dissects them and sells the parts for profit to medical researchers, training organizations and other buyers. The torso on the gurney was being prepared for just such a sale.  Each year, thousands of Americans donate their bodies in the belief they are contributing to science. In fact, many are also unwittingly contributing to commerce, their bodies traded as raw material in a largely unregulated national market.

Body brokers are also known as non-transplant tissue banks. They are distinct from the organ and tissue transplant industry, which the U.S. government closely regulates. Selling hearts, kidneys and tendons for transplant is illegal. But no federal law governs the sale of cadavers or body parts for use in research or education. Few state laws provide any oversight whatsoever, and almost anyone, regardless of expertise, can dissect and sell human body parts.

“The current state of affairs is a free-for-all,” said Angela McArthur, who directs the body donation program at the University of Minnesota Medical School and formerly chaired her state’s anatomical donation commission. “We are seeing similar problems to what we saw with grave-robbers centuries ago,” she said, referring to the 19th-century practice of obtaining cadavers in ways that violated the dignity of the dead. “I don’t know if I can state this strongly enough,” McArthur said. “What they are doing is profiting from the sale of humans.”
“There is a big market for dead bodies,” said Ray Madoff, a Boston College Law School professor who studies how U.S. laws treat the dead. “We know very little about who is acquiring these bodies and what they are doing with them.”
Body brokers also have become intertwined with the American funeral industry. Reuters identified 62 funeral operators that have struck mutually beneficial business arrangements with brokers.....“Some funeral home directors are saying, ‘Cremation isn’t paying the bills anymore, so let me see if I can help people harvest body parts,’” said Steve Palmer, an Arizona mortician who serves on the National Funeral Directors Association’s policy board. “I just think families who donate loved ones would have second thoughts if they knew that.”
Last December, Reuters reported that more than 20 bodies donated to an Arizona broker were used in U.S. Army blast experiments – without the consent of the deceased or next of kin.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:56 AM | Permalink

August 31, 2017

Grave robbers in Georgia

Grave robbers ransack historic cemetery where Revolutionary War and Confederate soldiers were buried.

A substantial reward is being offered following the discovery of grave robberies in Burke County this morning (Saturday) at a historic cemetery  At least five graves were excavated at Old Church cemetery off Idlewood Road south of Waynesboro, the bones of soldiers and an infant scattered as thieves likely searched for artifacts, personal effects and precious metal.

The unsettling scene was discovered by the Commander of American Legion Post 120, which is entrusted with the care of the cemetery, when he went there to mow the grass. “I came around here and saw this marker moved and the grave dug up and just thought, ‘What in God’s name?”
Bell said it’s unclear what might have been stolen from the graves, but what they left behind was disturbing.
Just beyond torn shards of one soldier’s uniform, the dentures from his mouth were left lying beside the hole of his grave...The robbers dug up the cast iron casket of baby Emma Jane McElmurray, who died at 13 months old in 1884, and smashed the iridescent glass at its head. All that was left of its contents were portions of her tiny skull and the sole of her infant shoe, which had been dumped on the ground beside the casket.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

February 15, 2017

Undertakers gatecrash funeral and walk off with corpse

Undertakers gatecrash funeral and walk off with the CORPSE because bereaved family failed to pay their fees 

This is the shocking moment two undertakers at a cemetery remove a dead body from its coffin and hold it hostage over an unpaid debt. The chilling scenes, allegedly in Greater Accra in Ghana, took place because the bereaved family failed to pay for the services of the mortuary men.  It is claimed the amount owed was 150 Ghanaian Cedi - roughly £27.
 Undertakers Grab Corpse At Funeral
The drama begins with the two men standing over the open coffin while hundreds of onlookers rush over to see what is happening.The angry undertakers shout at the crowd while trying to loosen the dead man's body from its surroundings. Immediately after, the clip shows an empty coffin with the two men carrying the corpse on their shoulders.

This being the Daily Mail, the headline begins ...When are you coffin up the cash?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:43 PM | Permalink

December 11, 2016

"Ghost Bride" found alive in coffin

Family buys a cadaver to bury with their dead son as a 'ghost bride' but she comes back to LIFE in the coffin

A family unwittingly uncovered an alleged human-trafficker after purchasing a cadaver from him.

The family, from northern China, bought the corpse to bury with their dead son as a 'ghost bride'. But during the burial, they were shocked to hear noises coming from from the coffin, People's Daily reported. They opened up the box to discover that the victim, later found to be a deaf-mute woman who was trafficked to the area, was still alive.

  Ghost Bride Found Alive In Coffin

The 'ghost bride' tradition allows parents of men and women who died before they wed to be married after their death.  In the ritual, two dead bodies are buried together to indicate a marriage has taken place.

According to People's Daily, the family received the body of the woman, identified as Zhao Mei, on July 15. They dressed her up for the burial before they put the body into the coffin and nailed it shut. But during the burial, the family heard slapping sounds coming from within the coffin. 

The terrified family opened the coffin to discover that Zhao was still alive. They reported the incident to the police and Zhao was sent to Linzhou People's Hospital.

Zhao was deaf-mute and was mentally retarded, according to the report. She was unable to provide additional information to the police.

However, through their investigation, officers were able to track down six people allegedly involved in a human trafficking ring. They would use the women for prostitution and sold them on as wives, according to the report.  One of the alleged traffickers, identified by his surname Li, admitted to the police that he gave the deaf-mute woman tranquilizers dissolved in a bottle of water before he delivered 'the body' to the family, according to the report.

Linzhou police also told local media that they rescued five other female victims from the alleged traffickers.One of the alleged traffickers had previously been convicted for trafficking according to Guancha. At present, the group are being held on suspicion of attempted homicide and are awaiting trial according to the Guancha report.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:07 PM | Permalink

September 28, 2016

Death Fraud

Beset by credit card debts, John Darwin decided to fake his own death in a canoe accident so he and his wife could cash in on his life insurance.  At first his wife Ann said she thought he had really died.  But after living rough for a few weeks, he turned up dirty, smelly and disheveled at his home.  Ann took him in, cleaned him up and agreed to hide him while collecting a widow's pension and awaiting the inquest and the insurance payout.  He lived in a bedsit next door to their large house and secretly lived as husband and wife

 John Darwin. Jpg 
John Darwin

They never told their two grown-up sons that their father was alive and living next door. 

In an astonishing interview, 55-year-old Mrs Darwin admits the couple were secretly living as husband and wife when an inquest declared him dead.

The former doctor's receptionist also knew her husband was alive and well when she cashed in a life insurance policy for £25,000 and had their £130,000 mortgage paid off by another life policy.

 Anne Darwin
Anne Darwin

In an extraordinary new book, Anne Darwin is revealing all.
A heart-stopping escape to Panama and the split-second blunder that ruined us

Today, she tells how she and her husband made a last-ditch attempt to save their skin — and the awful consequences for their children . . .

'My most wicked betrayal': Canoe wife Anne Darwin reveals her regret over putting her beloved sons through the agony of accusing her in court after she tried to save her skin by pleading not guilty to her crimes

Both were convicted of fraud.  John Darwin served six years and 3 months while Ann Darwin served 6 years and 6 months.

Her book Out of My Depth will be published October 6.  She has divorced her husband who is married again and living in the Philippines.  She has also reconciled with her children.

So you think you can fake your own death?  Some Dos and Don'ts by Elizabeth Greenwood is the author of Playing Dead, A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud

Don’t subscribe to conventional wisdom:
Don’t get too creative
Don’t Google yourself
Do change your light bulbs
Don’t assume a fake identity
Do keep near enough the truth
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:03 PM | Permalink

May 27, 2016

How did the dissected bodies donated to medical science end up in mass graves?

This report by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times shows disgraceful behavior on the part of NYU.  Let it be a red flag to all who plan to donate their bodies to medical science.

Bodies Given to N.Y.U. Ended Up in Mass Graves, Despite Donors’ Wishes

One died in her multimillion-dollar apartment. Another left $1.3 million to charity. A third was an opera costume designer who took regular trips to Europe with his devoted partner. All three donated their bodies to medical science, and eventually served as cadavers for first-year medical students at the New York University School of Medicine. All three had signed forms that promised cremation and the disposal of their ashes by the medical school “in an appropriate and dignified manner.” 

So how did their dissected corpses end up instead in mass graves on Hart Island, where New York City buries the dead it considers unclaimed and indigent? 

Those cases, discovered during an investigation by The New York Times into Hart Island burials, shocked surviving family members and friends. But they also raised larger questions about body donations at a time when medical schools throughout the country increasingly rely on such gifts, rather than on unclaimed bodies, to teach future doctors.

Now, after searching through anatomical records at The Times’s request, N.Y.U. is apologizing, and acknowledging that the cases were part of a practice that went on for years. Until 2013, the school was sending a subset of privately donated cadavers to a city morgue for burial at public expense.

“As an institution, we weren’t aware that this was happening,” Lisa Greiner, a spokeswoman for NYU Langone Medical Center, said. “I promise you it’s not happening now.”

But the revelation reinforces longstanding concerns by some anatomists about the lack of regulation and oversight in a national patchwork of body donation operations. And it could have repercussions at the 16 medical schools in New York State, which use more than 800 donated bodies a year.
N.Y.U. was one of the first medical schools in the country to publicize annual memorial ceremonies held by grateful medical students to honor body donors. Each year, on average, it receives 46 cadavers and signs up 65 donors. Officials at the Associated Medical Schools of New York, of which N.Y.U. is a member, said that it knew of no other school that had ever sent privately donated bodies to a potter’s field, and that it had been unaware that N.Y.U. was doing so.

Todd Olson, who formerly directed the anatomical donation program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and, as a professor of anatomy, was a leader in the profession’s state and national organizations, said he was sickened to learn of N.Y.U.’s method of disposing of some privately donated bodies.

“This is so out of line with common practice,” he said. “The idea of it is so disrespectful.” But, he added, “Every time you turn around you’re going to find some people who are taking advantage of their access to the dead, because they know the dead are not going to talk.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 PM | Permalink

July 27, 2015

Should we harvest blood from the dead?

Ross Pomery argues  yes in Real Clear Science

Scarcely a week goes by without news of a blood shortage somewhere in the United States. Summertime in particular sees supplies on the wane. With families on vacation and schools out of session, the American Red Cross regularly witnesses a dip in donations.  But with one simple change, blood shortages in the United States could be drastically reduced, or perhaps eliminated entirely. It's a solution seemingly out of Count Dracula's playbook: drain blood from the dead.

Unpalatable and macabre at first glance, the idea actually makes a lot of sense. Roughly 15 million pints of blood are donated each year by approximately 9.2 million individuals. Over the course of the same year, about 2.6 million Americans will -- sadly -- pass away. If hospitals were to harvest the blood from a third of those people, roughly 4.5 million liters would be added to the reservoir.

Contrary to what you might think, blood from cadavers is not only usable, but quite safe.

"For six to eight hours, the blood inside a dead body remains sterile and the red blood cells retain their oxygen-carrying capabilities," Mary Roach reported in her book Stiff.  In fact, as Roach further described, "For twenty-eight years, the Sklifosovsky Institute [in Moscow] happily transfused cadaver blood, some twenty-five tons of the stuff, meeting 70 percent of its clinics needs."

The idea has never caught on in the United States, however, primarily out of public distaste. Tampering with the body of a deceased individual frequently evokes ethical conundrums and moral aversions in the minds of many.

However, draining the blood from a body is hardly out of the ordinary; it's actually a regular part of the embalming process…..

….. staff might have to be trained in a more primitive technique. After obtaining familial consent and conducting necessary tests, a larger needle attached to a more voluminous tube would be inserted into the jugular vein at the neck. Then the body would be tilted downward so the blood flows out with the aid of gravity. Simple, effective, yet perhaps a tad morbid…

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, and more than 41,000 donations are needed each day. Taking blood from cadavers could ensure that no patient is ever deprived of the life-giving blood they need.
Is this any different from organ donation?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:00 PM | Permalink

March 30, 2015

Turn yourself into compost?

Who asks themselves, how can we put dead bodies to good use?  Only those with a materialistic,  utilitarian outlook on life.   

Would you want your corpse to become COMPOST? Seattle firm proposes giant tower to turn dead bodies into plant food

Corpses could soon be turned into compost and used as plant food if a radical new plan to offer a new way to bury the dead succeeds.  Called the Urban Death Project, it proposes corpses are placed into a giant tower by families and left to decompose.
After six weeks, their body will have broken down into compost, which is them given to the grieving families as well as spread in national parks
Katrina Spade says she got the idea from animal composting, which is common. She plans to launch a  Kickstarter campaign later this month to build a prototypes system by 2020, and admits it also faces legal problems.

This  is a grotesque, horrible idea that would not occur to religious or spiritual people for whom respect for the dignity of the human being and the human body, before and after, is a principal value.

That goes for beautiful beads too.  Memorial Ash Beads: Artist Turns Your Loved Ones’ Ashes Into Jewelry


Ghoulish is what I call them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:45 PM | Permalink

March 10, 2015

Graverobbers and bodysnatchers

Smithsonian Grave Robbers Once Held Charlie Chaplin’s Body For Ransom

Months after his death, thieves stole the actor’s body in hopes of a $600,000 payout; it didn’t turn out as they had hoped

Almost forty years ago, on March 2, 1978, Oona Chaplin got a call from the local police. Three months earlier, her husband Charlie Chaplin—the British star of silent films and early “talkies”—had died peacefully at their home near Corsier-sur-Vevey, by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. He was 88.  Oona, his fourth wife, and their eight children had buried him in a quiet cemetery by their home.  That was what the police were calling about."They said, look, somebody dug up the grave and he's gone,” Chaplin’s son, Eugene, later recalled to the Independent.

That was the beginning of one of the most spectacularly unsuccessful body snatchings in history. The thieves soon called the home with their terms. They wanted the equivalent of about $600,000 for the safe return of Chaplin’s body and threatened the lives of the couple’s young children should their demands not be met.

Oona would have nothing to do with it. "Charlie would have thought it rather ridiculous"…,

But the body-snatchers were desperate and the local police diligent. In May of that year, expecting another call from the crooks, police had Oona’s phone tapped and every one of the area’s 200 phone booths monitored by detectives. The efforts paid out, and two mechanics and political refugees from Eastern Europe, Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev, were finally nabbed.

After the two led the authorities to the cornfield where they had temporarily re-buried Chaplin, they were prosecuted for grave robbing and attempted extortion. Wardas, the reported "mastermind," was sentenced to four years, while Ganev got an 18-month suspended sentence.
As for poor Charlie, he was reburied in his original plot. This time, however, the family opted for a concrete coating over the grave to deter any future robberies.

Woman digs up father's grave in search of 'real will' only to find vodka and cigarettes instead
Melanie Nash, 53, was one of four accused in the plan to open Eddie Nash's vault in Colebrook, then rifle through his casket last May in a scene a prosecutor compared to an Edgar Allan Poe story.

Police said she felt she was shorted in her share of the inheritance after her father died in 2004. They didn't find a will in the casket…..His body was left intact.

Nash, who faced trial in March, instead agreed to plead guilty to charges of criminal mischief, interference with a cemetery, conspiracy and abuse of a corpse on Monday.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

January 28, 2015

The Curse of Cromwell

When Oliver Cromwell died, a gilt copper plate was placed on his chest and the Lord Protector,  after a funeral of great pomp,  was buried in a vault in at Westminster Abbey.  But he didn't rest there long.

Believing that the death and execution of the king was necessary to end the English civil wars, he was one of the signatories of the death warrant for King Charles I who was executed on January 30, 1649.    Cromwell then invaded and conquered Ireland.  His actions against the Irish were near-genocidal.  In 4 years, 500,000 Irish men and women in Ireland were killed, a quarter of the civilian population. YouTube video: Cromwell, God's Executioner

The public practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic priests were executed when captured.  Wikipedia: "All Catholic-owned land was confiscated under the Act for the Settlement of Ireland of 1652 and given to Scottish and English settlers, Parliament's financial creditors and Parliamentary soldiers. … Under the Commonwealth, Catholic landownership dropped from 60% of the total to just 8%…..Faced with the prospect of an Irish alliance with Charles II, Cromwell carried out a series of massacres to subdue the Irish. Then, once Cromwell had returned to England, the English Commissary, General Henry Ireton, adopted a deliberate policy of crop burning and starvation, which was responsible for the majority of an estimated 600,000 deaths out of a total Irish population of 1,400,000"…..

…Winston Churchill wrote in 1957:  ……upon all of these Cromwell's record was a lasting bane.  By an uncompleted process of terror, by an iniquitous land settlement, by the virtual proscription of the Catholic religion, by the bloody deeds already described, he cut new gulfs between the nations and the creeds. 'Hell or Connaught' were the terms he thrust upon the native inhabitants, and they for their part, across three hundred years, have used as their keenest expression of hatred 'The Curse of Cromwell on you.' … Upon all of us there still lies 'the curse of Cromwell'."

Cromwell l is still a figure of hatred in Ireland.  In 1997,  Taoiseach Bertie Ahern demanded that a portrait of Cromwell be removed from a room in the Houses of Parliament before he began talks with Tony Blair

After the execution of King Charles I,  political and religious revolutions racked Britain which became a joyless, kingless republic led by Oliver Cromwell, a puritan who declared himself Lord Protector.

Once Charles I's son was restored to the throne, on the 12th anniversary of the king's execution, Cromwell's body and 2 others were exhumed, the corpses dragged in their coffins to the  West London execution side of Tyburn…where the corpses were hung in chains for an hour, then taken down and beheaded.  The heads were placed on 20 foot spikes in front of Westminster Hall.

It was then that exhumer, James Norfolke, Serjeant-at-Arms to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who had been tasked with exhuming the regicides’ bodies. He helped himself to the plaque and it remained in his family for hundreds of years.

Cromwell's head remained on its spike for 30 years in front of Westminster Hall.

Oliver Cromwell's burial plate sells for $116, 719

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:57 PM | Permalink

The Curse of Cromwell

When Oliver Cromwell died, a gilt copper plate was placed on his chest and the Lord Protector,  after a funeral of great pomp,  was buried in a vault in at Westminster Abbey.  But he didn't rest there long. 

Believing that the death and execution of the king was necessary to end the English civil wars, he was one of the signatories of the death warrant for King Charles I who was executed on January 30, 1649.    Cromwell then invaded and conquered Ireland.  His actions against the Irish were near-genocidal.  In 4 years, 500,000 Irish men and women in Ireland were killed, a quarter of the civilian population. 

YouTube video: Cromwell, God's Executioner

The public practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic priests were executed when captured.  Wikipedia: "All Catholic-owned land was confiscated under the Act for the Settlement of Ireland of 1652 and given to Scottish and English settlers, Parliament's financial creditors and Parliamentary soldiers. … Under the Commonwealth, Catholic landownership dropped from 60% of the total to just 8%…..Faced with the prospect of an Irish alliance with Charles II, Cromwell carried out a series of massacres to subdue the Irish. Then, once Cromwell had returned to England, the English Commissary, General Henry Ireton, adopted a deliberate policy of crop burning and starvation, which was responsible for the majority of an estimated 600,000 deaths out of a total Irish population of 1,400,000"…..

…Winston Churchill wrote in 1957:  ……upon all of these Cromwell's record was a lasting bane.  By an uncompleted process of terror, by an iniquitous land settlement, by the virtual proscription of the Catholic religion, by the bloody deeds already described, he cut new gulfs between the nations and the creeds. 'Hell or Connaught' were the terms he thrust upon the native inhabitants, and they for their part, across three hundred years, have used as their keenest expression of hatred 'The Curse of Cromwell on you.' … Upon all of us there still lies 'the curse of Cromwell'."

Cromwell l is still a figure of hatred in Ireland.  In 1997,  Taoiseach Bertie Ahern demanded that a portrait of Cromwell be removed from a room in the Houses of Parliament before he began talks with Tony Blair

After the execution of King Charles I,  political and religious revolutions racked Britain which became a joyless, kingless republic led by Oliver Cromwell, a puritan who declared himself Lord Protector. 

Once Charles I's son was restored to the throne, on the 12th anniversary of the king's execution, Cromwell's body and 2 others were exhumed, the corpses dragged in their coffins to the  West London execution side of Tyburn…where the corpses were hung in chains for an hour, then taken down and beheaded.  The heads were placed on 20 foot spikes in front of Westminster Hall. 

It was then that exhumer, James Norfolke, Serjeant-at-Arms to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who had been tasked with exhuming the regicides’ bodies. He helped himself to the plaque and it remained in his family for hundreds of years.

Cromwell's head remained on its spike for 30 years in front of Westminster Hall.

Oliver Cromwell's burial plate sells for $116, 719

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:08 AM | Permalink

November 3, 2014

"This is how bad persecution gets in Pakistan: You can't escape it even if you're dead."

Washington Post  Attacking graveyards: Washington Post probes unusual form of oppression in Pakistan

Denying a final resting place to a despised group is the topic of an enterprising newsfeature by the Washington Post. For Christians and other minorities there, enduring contempt even in death is a way of life.

"Bleak" seems hardly adequate to describe the picture painted by the article. Here's a painfully eloquent passage:
Christians say they earn less than $2 a day working in the sugarcane fields. They must shop at the sparsely stocked Christian-run rice and vegetable store. They are not allowed to draw water from wells tapped for Muslim neighbors. Now, in what many consider to be a final indignity, they and other Pakistani Christians are struggling to bury their dead.

Pakistan, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim, is nearly twice the size of California. But leaders o
f the tiny Christian minority say their burial sites are being illegally seized by developers at an alarming rate, while efforts to secure new land are rejected because of religious tenets barring Muslims from being buried near people of other faiths. Increasingly, the remaining Christian cemeteries are packed with bodies atop bodies.
The WaPo story is a textbook example of reporting both in breadth and depth. It reports from three towns, from a remote hamlet to Lahore, the nation's second-largest city. It quotes 12 sources, Muslim as well as Christian.
But you can judge a group not by its most extreme members, but by how everyone else reacts to them. And thus far, Pakistani society hasn't responded well. In fact, it “has been cultivated to develop indifference and animosity” toward Christians, says a rights advocate.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

October 9, 2014

Ebola burial teams back to work picking up abandoned corpses on the street in Sierra Leone

The world's bravest undertakers aren't being paid on time so they are now on strike.

Bodies of Ebola victims lie abandoned in streets of Sierra Leone after burial teams strike over backlog in hazard pay

 Women Faint  As Bodies-Taken-Away
Bodies of Ebola victims are lying abandoned in the streets of Sierra Leone's capital it has emerged, as burial teams strike over a backlog in 'hazard' pay.  The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation reported bodies of those who had died from the virus were being left in homes and on the streets of Freetown.

Burial teams took strike action, complaining they had not received hazard pay for a week.

The dead bodies of Ebola victims are highly contagious, raising fears more people were at risk of contracting the virus.
Although officials today said the issue had been 'resolved', organisers of the strike action could not be reached to confirm it was over.

UPDATE: The grimmest of clean-up operations begins: Festering bodies of Ebola victims finally removed from streets of Sierra Leone after burial teams' strike over backlog in hazard pay

Lying at the side of the road in a busy marketplace in Sierra Leone the body of an Ebola victim is left abandoned.  The corpse was covered with leaves as dozens of people looked on, unsure what to do in the wake of a strike by burial teams in the capital, Freetown.  Bodies were left in homes and on the streets after a row over a week-long backlog in hazard pay. …At the point of death, the virus is at its most virulent.
Officials today said the dispute had been 'resolved', paving the way for teams to return to work and clear the backlog of bodies amassing as a result of the strike.

Deputy health minister Madina Rahman told a radio programme this morning the dispute centered on a one-week backlog for hazard pay, which had been deposited in the bank, but was not given to the workers on time. The health ministry is going to investigate the delay in the health workers not receiving their money,' she said.

The burial teams make up a total of 600 workers organized in groups of 12, health ministry spokesman Sidie Yahya Tunis said.
Tunis described the situation as 'very embarrassing'.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:42 PM | Permalink

September 29, 2014

Stealing from dying patients

Fake doctor who snuck on to cancer wards to steal from the bedsides of dying hospital patients is jailed for seven years

A woman who posed as a hospital doctor to steal from the bedsides of ill and dying patients was jailed for seven years today.
June Weatherman stole from elderly cancer patients, mostly aged in the eighties, taking their bank cards before withdrawing thousands of pounds from their accounts.

When she was arrested she tried to claim she was only being targeted because she was mixed race, but was ultimately convicted of 15 charges of theft and fraud at Guilford Crown Court.

Prosecuter Ruby Selva said that Weatherman, 50, had stalked the corridors of hospitals across the South of England looking for opportunities to steal handbags and wallets.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:57 AM | Permalink

February 10, 2014

Astonishing Deathbed Conversion

Rod Dreher writes about Sy Karvitz's Astonishing Deathbed Conversion.

In 2009, the Daily Telegraph interviewed the musician Lenny Kravitz, who had been living celibately for the past few years because he is, or was, a serious Christian. Who knew? He said back then that he had decided to turn his back on his sex god ways and save himself for marriage. He has since backslidden, it appears, which is a shame, but it’s not why I’m linking to the article. I’m linking to it because of what he said about his late father’s deathbed conversion.

Sy Kravitz, his son said, was a hard man, an ex-Green Beret who was a serial cheater on Lenny Kravitz’s mother, Jeffersons actress Roxie Roker. When confronted in front of their son about his adulterous behavior, Sy Kravitz put what Lenny considers a curse on him, telling him: “You’ll do it too.”

Years later, dying of cancer, Sy Kravitz had a deathbed conversion. From the story:

‘It sounds like…’ [Lenny] Kravitz begins, and then says, ‘It’s going to sound like whatever it sounds like, but this is what it was. I mean, spiritually hospitals are very intense places. It’s like death’s doorstep. And he was in his bed one night and he looked at me, and he wasn’t on drugs, and he said to me, “There are these things flying around my bed, and these things crawling on the floor. I said, “What are you talking about?” This is from my dad. He doesn’t do with any kind of spiritual thing. No heebie-jeebie kind of thing. And he’s, “There’s black-winged things and they’re flying around my bed… the things that are crawling on the ground, they look like they’re rats and they’re not… I see them.” I didn’t quite know how to take it. And he then began having this revelation and he accepted Christ – this is a non-religious Jewish man – and somehow the spirit world opened up to him. Almost like he had spiritually been bound his whole life and now this thing was released.’

After this spiritual experience, his father started answering some of the questions Kravitz would never get answers for. When Kravitz asked him before, “Why did you do what you did? Why did you do this to Mom?”, his father would stonewall. ‘That’s just the way it is,’ he would say. But a couple of nights after the experience, sitting in hospital with Lenny and his two half-sisters, Sy started talking. ‘He apologised to us in the most sincere, heartfelt manner. “I am sorry for what I’ve done, how I’ve been, how I’ve treated you, and I love you.” Real. And it was shocking… And what he said to me is that he always wanted to change his life, and he felt there was this thing on his back and he couldn’t get it off. His whole life, he knew inside himself that he wanted to change. But, he said, “I couldn’t.”?’

There would be one further unexpected moment: ‘As he got closer to his death, another night in the hospital, he was really tired and he looked over at me and he goes, “There’s angels all around the room. Because of Jesus.” And that was it. He turned and looked away. If you knew my dad – it was the furthest thing from him.’

These were the last words Sy Kravitz would say of this kind. But for the son, something real happened in those hospital days that changed everything. ‘The last three weeks of his life was the best relationship I had with him. And it cancelled out the 40 years before.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:29 PM | Permalink

October 31, 2013


This is about the creepiest thing I can imagine.  The 17th century NECROPANTS made from corpse legs - and are supposed to be lucky

In 17th century Iceland, sorcerers wore 'trousers' made of a dead friend's skin that were said to bring them wealth.  According to legend, a morbid deal was struck between two friends to arrange who became the trousers or 'necropants,' which were used for purposes of traditional magic at the time.

The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft in Holmavik, Iceland, houses the only known intact pair of necropants, that were meant to be worn day and night by their owner.

In order to make the necropants (called nábrók in the naive tongue) an individual had to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his death.  The surviving member of the pact had to dig up his dead friend's body and peel off the skin of the corpse from the waist down in one piece without any holes or scratches, to make the magical trousers.

The wearer of the pants had to steal a coin from a widow and place it in the scrotum of the trousers, along with the magical sign called nábrókarstafur, ) drawn on a piece of paper

As soon as they stepped into the pants, the skin of the corpse stuck to theirs own, according to the museum, which documents 17th century occult practices. A spokesman for the museum told MailOnline: 'They would immediately be stuck with your own flesh and be part of your body.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:25 PM | Permalink

August 10, 2013

He posted photos of the wife he killed on Facebook

When I first read about the man who shot his wife dead and then posted a picture on her dead body on Facebook, my first reaction was horror.  My first thought was this is a man who wanted to be famous.  And he has with a new low in social media.


Derek Medina, 31, posted a picture of Jennifer Alfonso's blood-stained body -- collapsed and contorted on the kitchen floor -- to his Facebook feed with a note, according to authorities.

"Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys takecare Facebook people you will see me in the news," he purportedly wrote.

Medina, who lives in South Miami, drove to see his family, to tell them what he did. Then he turned himself in to police, according to his arrest affidavit.
Hours before the slaying, Medina posted a picture of his wife, his daughter and himself having dinner together outdoors at a marina.
They were all smiling.

 Medina Family

Then came more information about Medina.

Man who shot dead his wife then posted 'RIP' picture of her corpse on his Facebook page played a gun-toting gang member in TV series and has dreams of fame

A Florida man arrested in connection to his wife's murder after posting a graphic photo of her blood-splattered body on his Facebook page played a tattooed, violent gang member in a TV show and wants to be famous.
'My wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me.'

Medina supplemented the photo apparently showing his murdered spouse lying in the kitchen with blood covering her face and left arm with the comment: 'Rip Jennifer Alfonso.'
Medina's post and shocking photo of his murdered wife remained on Facebook for five hours before his profile was taken down just before 5pm Thursday.
Officers who were dispatched to the couple's home at 5555 SW 67th Avenue discovered Jennifer Alfonso' body.

A 10-year-old girl was led out of the residence wrapped in a red blanket. The child is believed to have been present during the shooting, but was not harmed.
Medina was a part time actor on the USA Network show Burn Notice.

The wannabe star boasted online about his tiny bit-part appearances and dreamed of fame that he never quite attained. He appeared only as a backgound extra with his head-shaved and pouting in two episodes in 2010.

However, that didn't stop his talking up his achievements.

Posting a video on You Tube, he narrated: 'Put on USA, I’m coming out on the episode right now. I’m on USA. I’m going to come out soon. This is the episode that I filmed. hat’s me right there! You saw me?'

 Medina Mugshotmugshot of Derek Medina

More details from the Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:53 AM | Permalink

August 1, 2013

Teamsters disrupting funerals

Teamsters Ordered to Stop Picketing Funeral Homes

A judge ordered one of Chicago’s most politically powerful labor unions to suspend picketing against 16 funeral homes last week after receiving reports that striking Teamsters had, among other things, disturbed a child’s funeral.

SCI Illinois Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.
The company testified in its filing that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.

The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away.

What appalling behavior.  How are they any different from Westboro Baptist Church that disrupts funerals to decry homosexuality?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:00 PM | Permalink

July 16, 2013

They didn't come to help; they came to loot dead bodies

Last week, a trail derailment near Paris killed six and injured many more.  What you probably not have heard is that a group of thugs were robbing the dead bodies and fought off police and firemen to do so.

From Galliawatch

While they were trying to rescue victims of the Paris-Limoges derailment, in which six persons lost their lives, the emergency teams had to face a volley of stones from a small group of thugs and scavengers, who had come to rob the dead and wounded of whatever they could carry. Nathalie Michel, of the Alliance police union describes the scene:

"At 17:30 , when the police arrived, they saw a group of young persons  approaching who seemed to be helping the victims. Very quickly, they realized that these individuals were there to strip the victims, notably the first corpses."

The police decided to chase them, but the thugs had no intention of getting caught. They shot back at the police with stones, and at the firemen on the scene. To get rid of them, the emergency personnel were forced to call in for reinforcements.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:56 AM | Permalink

May 14, 2013

Young girl killed in India for her organs

British schoolgirl 'murdered for her organs' in India, family claim

Gurkiren Kaur Loyal's family said she was being treated for a simple case of dehydration when staff at a clinic gave her a mystery injection which took her life.

Her relatives said they guarded the eight-year-old's body, meaning her organs could not be taken in time to be used in transplant operations.

But she was then subjected to a "medieval" post-mortem, during which all her major organs were removed in a bid to hide the truth of how she had been killed, the grieving family claim.

It was only once her body was flown home to Britain that they discovered her organs were missing and only her eyes remained, the family said.
The Indian police and medical authorities made little attempt to investigate the death, they say.
Her mother Amrit Kaur Loyal said: "My baby was innocent and now I am devastated without her. Gurkiren was fine, she was chatting to us and planned to buy some gifts for her cousins. While we were talking an assistant came up carrying a pre-filled syringe and reached for the tube in her hand.

"I asked what was the injection for, but he gave me a blank look and injected the liquid into her.

"Within a split-second Gurkiren's head flipped back, her eyes rolled in her head, and the colour completely drained from her. I knew they had killed her on the spot. I knew my innocent child had been murdered."

Coun Kooner, a friend the family, said it was "highly probable" that she had been killed in a bid to harvest her organs.
There is reportedly a "lucrative underground market" for human organs in India.

In 2007, Ravindranath Seppan, of the Chennai Doctors' Association for Social Equality, admitted: "India's rich are turning to India's poor to live longer."

He said the commercial trade of human organs remained big business, despite having been banned in 1994.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:36 PM | Permalink

April 12, 2013

Metal from people's cremated remains being turned into road signs

Metal from people's cremated remains being turned into road signs

A COUNCIL is recycling metal body parts from cremated remains and turning them into road signs.
Items such as replacement hip joints, metal plates from legs and skulls and screws fitted to various body parts are collected after cremations in Bristol, Bath and Weston- super-Mare.

Other items collected include metal clamps which are sometimes left on the bodies of patients who die on the operating table
Metal plates in false teeth are also sometimes recovered and, in Weston and Bath, recycled along with some types of metal used in tooth fillings and any metal handles fitted to the coffins.

Bristol City Council, which currently buries recovered metal in the grounds of its crematoriums, is also considering a move to recycling when its current policy is banned by an upcoming change in the law

Metal for recycling is collected in a large wheelie bins at the crematoriums and taken to a specialist plant for recycling by contractors.

The metals are then melted down – and The Post has learned that in North Somerset, it has been used to make items including council road signs, lamppost poles and safety barriers for motorway central reservations.

People booking a cremation service are asked if they want to keep metal parts which may have been fitted during their deceased relative's life.
Those families who do not want them sign a special form agreeing for them to be recycled.  Once the cremation is over, a machine known as a cremulator is used to separate any metal from the ashes.

And the road signs made were  Dead End,  No Outlet and Wrong Way

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:26 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2013

The Death of Hugo Chavez - UPDATED

'I don't want to die, please don't let me die': Last words of Hugo Chavez revealed as medics admit president died of heart attack

President Hugo Chavez mouthed 'I don't want to die… please don't let me die' just before he suffered a heart attack and died, it was revealed today.
The head of Venezuela's presidential guard said the 58-year-old leader, who was battling cancer, died after 'great suffering'.

It came as Russia's communist leader called for an investigation into claims the U.S.had 'infected its enemies in Latin America with the disease'.
Gennady Zyuganov said: 'This was far from a coincidence. How did it happen that six leaders of Latin American countries which had criticised US policies and tried to create an influential alliance in order to be independent and sovereign states, fell ill simultaneously with the same disease?'
Venezuelan authorities have not said what kind of cancer Mr Chavez had or specified exactly where tumors were removed.Tens of thousands of ‘Chavistas’ dressed in revolutionary red lined the streets of Venezuela yesterday to witness President Hugo Chavez’s coffin being driven through the city centre.

-Hugo Chavez Coffin Caudillos

His coffin, adorned with his country's flag, was placed on the top of a car and driven slowly to the military academy where his body will lie in state for three days before a massive state funeral on Friday.

Chavez, who was 58, died after a two-year cancer battle that has been shrouded in secrecy. And it appears his death is to take on the same level of mystery as claims emerged yesterday that he died in a Cuban hospital instead of a military hospital in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.  Spanish newspaper ABC claimed that after Chavez's health deteriorated after he returned to Cuba on Friday for emergency treatment.  Unnamed sources told the paper Chavez was secretly moved back to Cuba and died there yesterday morning. ABC claims that Chavez died at 7am Cuban time when his family made the decision to withdraw care. To back up the claims it was noted that government ministers were not seen attending his bedside.

Yesterday there was a heavy military presence amid fears of unrest with soldiers deployed after Venezuelan officials called for peace and unity stating in television broadcasts that the government and the military were standing together.  The outspoken left-winger, was staunchly anti-American and enjoyed close ties to states such as Russia and Iran.

Church vs. Chavez Highlighted Power of a Faithful Fight Against Tyrants  Venezuela's clerics didn't fear tangling with the ruler when moral principles and human rights were on the line.

When Hugo Chavez opponent Cardinal Ignacio Velasco died in 2003, the Venezuelan strongman declared the pro-democracy cleric was “in hell.”  At Velasco’s wake, Chavez’s flock brandished pictures of the cardinal with devil horns and hurled stones while chanting Chavista slogans.  After all, Velasco had committed a cardinal sin in the eyes of the autocrat: questioned Chavez’s self appointment as supreme being and urged the people to embrace democracy and human rights instead of the Simon Bolivar fanboy.  “Every day we turn another cheek. I have no cheeks left because every day there is a new insult,” Velasco said of his nemesis the year before he died.

The cardinal was succeeded in Caracas by Rosalio Castillo Lara, who was equally vilified by Chavez for using his influential post — governed by the Vatican, not by the Bolivarian thought factory — to note “the only solution is democratic, which must involve the resistance of all the people.”  “If the Venezuelan people fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation and fail to categorically speak out in favor of democracy and freedom, we will find ourselves subjected to a Marxist-style dictatorship,” the cardinal said shortly before his death in 2007.

Castillo Lara was once asked if he’d like to give Chavez a blessing. “More than a blessing,” the cardinal responded. “I’d give him an exorcism.”

Hugo Chavez died 'in the bosom of the Church'

In announcing Chavez’s death to the nation on March 5, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the Venezuelan leader died “clinging to Christ.” The source in Venezuela told CNA that during the last weeks of his life, Chavez requested spiritual direction and asked to receive the sacraments.

Death of a Caudillo

Hugo Chávez, the late president of Venezuela, liked to present himself as a revolutionary, a socialist for the 21st century. Many members of the American Left presented him this way too. In reality he was the latest in the long line of caudillos, the strongmen who have been the scourge of Spanish America; “throwback” and “reactionary” are therefore more fitting ways to describe him.

Violence was his medium. A junior army officer, he did not hesitate to mount a coup, and once in power to devise a constitution that made him leader for life. He drove thousands into exile, expropriating their land and property. Venezuela depends on its oil, and nationalization of the oil companies gave him funds with which to buy popularity. Nobody knows the scale of the ensuing corruption, but rumor has it that Chávez and his family have amassed a fortune of $2 billion.

Hugo Chavez dies: socialists might see him as a saint but this charismatic conman was no angel

First, the good stuff. Chavez spent Venezuela’s oil money on reducing destitution and expanding access to healthcare and education. As a result, poverty was cut in half, child mortality fell by a third and death from malnutrition fell by 50 per cent. Homelessness was reduced and almost everyone gained access to clean drinking water. To his fans, this was all part of new model of development that was socialist without rejecting some element of free enterprise and activist without sacrificing democratic checks and balances. Between communism and capitalism, Chavez’s revolution held out the hope for a future without the exploitation that invariably accompanies both.
Chavez himself entered politics by way of a coup attempt in 1992 (the government he tried to overthrow was incompetent and corrupt but technically legitimate). He was a late convert to the ballot box and when he did finally form a government he wrote his own constitution and, even then, regularly broke its spirit. He persuaded a loyal legislature to grant him the right to rule by decree and he used it to pursue a revolution based on exploiting high oil prices to build a powerbase among the poor. His critics were basically anyone with an interest that conflicted with his – the Catholic Church, trades unions, private business, liberal parties. There is a global Left-wing myth that Chavez survived so long in power because his only opponent was the USA. In fact his domestic critics were plentiful, but they were either too divided to exploit their numbers or else were overpowered by Chavez loyalists in the military or the slums. It also helped that the great leader shut down over 30 radio stations and many newspapers and TV stations.
As Brendan O’Neill notes, this was not democratic socialism on the liberal European model but rather authoritarianism on the Peronist model.
Chavez should have spent the oil money on building a capitalist economy and a stronger civil society. Instead his administration was notorious for corruption and waste. During his time in office there were 120,000 murders, a rate four times that of post-war Iraq. The causes were inflation running at highs of 30 per cent, stubborn unemployment and poorly paid police.

Chavez joins Lenin and Ho Chi Minh as President's body is to be preserved forever and displayed inside glass tomb at museum

'We have decided to prepare the body of our `Comandante President,' to embalm it so that it remains open for all time for the people. Just like Ho Chi Minh. Just like Lenin. Just like Mao Zedong,' Maduro said…. the body would be held in a 'crystal urn' at the Museum of the Revolution, a mile from Miraflores presidential palace.

The announcement followed two emotional days in which Chavez's supporters compared him to Jesus Christ, and accused his national and international critics of seeking to undermine his 'revolution.'A sea of sobbing, heartbroken humanity jammed Venezuela's main military academy Thursday to see Chavez's body, some waiting 10 hours under the twinkling stars and the searing Caribbean sun to file past his coffin.

UPDATE: 'Too late' to embalm body of Hugo Chavez

The body of Hugo Chavez will no longer be embalmed and placed on permanent display, after Venezuelan's acting president said it had not been properly prepared in time.

The rumors that he died in Cuba seem more likely now.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:03 AM | Permalink

February 20, 2013

Cadaver Porn

I have decried Gunther von Hagen's  popular exhibitions of plastinized dead bodies before.  Disgust is the proper emotion at his exhibition of dead bodies copulating.

Should I be surprised that Some People Want to Become "Cadaver Porn"?

Even though von Hagens is in ill health, his work continues. Indeed, people are apparently lining up to be plasticized and posed for eternity

Even though
Donors to the plastination program sign away their right to say how their bodies might be posed. (The consent form does ask if they agree to be “exhibited in public” or “interpreted as anatomical works of art,” but it also says their answers to these questions are “recommendations rather than binding terms.”) Von Hagens can arrange his corpses in a mock coitus or cast a mold of them to make an ersatz Jesus Christ—both of these are on display in Guben—or he can carve them up and ship the parts for use in classrooms. He can do with them exactly as he pleases.

Wesley J Smith comments

How we treat the dead tells us how much about how we perceive the importance of life. Context is everything in matters such as these, of course. We display mummies, for example, but that is more a matter of awe and absorbing human history than getting an adrenalin thrill out of death. It is also true that some religious orders display skeletons and bones to be viewed. But, however misguided these endeavors might be, they are not meant as entertainment in the same sense as von Hagens’ plastinated bodies. To the contrary, the point is to remind people to pay heed to eternal things, e.g., that dust they were and dust they shall become again.

This seems very different to me. Slicing, plasticizing, and displaying cadavers to provide a nihilistic or hedonistic thrill proclaims that our lives have no inherent meaning beyond the sensations of the moment. If I am right about that, von Hagens’ continued popularity is a very disturbing sign of the times.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:22 AM | Permalink

February 19, 2013

Trying a dead man for fraud

In (Post-Soviet) Russia, First They Kill You, Then They Try You

Russian news headlines frequently walk the fine line between plausibility and The Onion. This week is no different: Russia is trying a dead man for fraud.

Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor who exposed a $230 million tax fraud by Russian police and officials and was then thrown into prison, tortured, and killed nearly a year later, will now finally get his long-awaited trial. The move is seen as a pushback by the Russian government against the Magnitsky Act, which black-listed the Russian officials involved in the scandal. As the FT reports many observers believe this is little more than an attempt to further blacken his name:

“First, there is the statute of limitations, secondly, [Magnitsky] had nothing to do with the company in question, and thirdly, he’s dead,”
said Mr Browder, who said the trial showed that there was “absolute desperation in the government of Russia to try to blacken Magnitsky’s name after the Magnitsky law was passed in the United States”.

This sounds right; with the defendant not only absent but killed before trial, justice will not be served. Instead, the world is likely to watch a show-trial aimed directly at consolidating Russian public opinion behind the Kremlin.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:02 PM | Permalink

December 10, 2012

Wave of grave robberies in Paris

Paris hit by wave of street muggings and grave robberies

Austerity-struck Paris has been hit by a wave of street muggings and grave robberies with thieves prepared to exhume bodies to steal gold and jewelry.

Last week, police in the French capital arrested three people as part of a widening grave robbery investigation.

There was further public outrage after two masked intruders shot dead a 52-year old precious metal worker when he tried to stop them stealing gold from his foundry in the chic central Parisian district of Le Marais.

Police said sky-high market prices for precious metals are acting as a magnet for thieves with scant regard for the living or the dead.
In Pantin cemetery, in the north of Paris, dozens of bodies have recently been dug up, with gold teeth and jewelry stolen from them.

Police sources said the three men seized last week were gravediggers employed by the city's cemeteries.

Last month, four other men – three from the same Pantin cemetery – were arrested and placed under investigation for aggravated theft, grave robbery and violating the integrity of a corpse.

Last month, four other men – three from the same Pantin cemetery – were arrested and placed under investigation for aggravated theft, grave robbery and violating the integrity of a corpse.

According to a source close to the investigation, the men removed personal belongings from corpses in the freshest graves, opening them in the dead of night.b  Two of the men were caught wearing miner's helmets and gloves. Their boots were covered in fresh earth.

One of the suspects was found to be carrying 10 gold teeth.

After the initial arrests, the mayor of Paris, Bernard Delanoe, expressed his outrage and ordered the city authorities to step up surveillance of cemeteries.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:22 AM | Permalink

October 30, 2012

The 'Great Brain Robbery'

Medical examiner's office refuses to release more than 9,000 brains belonging to New Yorkers so they can use them for 'experiments and practice'

It's being called 'the great brain robbery.' New York City's medical examiner’s office has kept the brains of more than 9,200 deceased New Yorkers — from the elderly to newborns — so newbie pathologists can practice their skills.

The discovery comes after three families publicly questioned whether or not the city is banking the brains for medical purposes.
'Vasean’s organs were removed for ‘testing’ without any investigative or medical necessity,' charges a suit by the family of Vasean Alleyne, an 11-year-old Queens boy killed by a drunken driver. According to the New York Post, months after his burial, his mom was shocked to read in the autopsy report that her son’s brain and spinal cord had been taken.
In November 2010, a judge ruled the city must notify families of seized organs. The ME began giving kin a form with three options: wait to claim the body pending “further testing” of organs; collect the organs later; or just let the city dispose of the organs. The disposal method is not mentioned. But an internal ME document spells it out: 'Medical waste is incinerated. Please do not tell NOK (next-of-kin) that unclaimed organs are ‘cremated …''
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:51 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2012

'This kid is dead, you got that?'

Donor network 'pressured medics to declare patients dead so organs can be harvested'

New York hospitals are routinely 'harvesting' organs from patients before they're even dead, an explosive lawsuit is claiming.  The suit accuses transplant non-profit The New York Organ Donor Network of bullying doctors into declaring patients brain dead when they are still alive.

Plaintiff, Patrick McMahon, 50, reckons one in five patients is showing signs of brain activity when surgeons declare them dead and start hacking out their body parts. 'They're playing God,' McMahon, a former transplant coordinator who claims he was fired just four months into the role for speaking out about the practice, told The New York Post.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, cites a 19-year-old car crash victim who was was still struggling to breathe and showing signs of brain activity when doctors gave the green light for his organs to be harvested.  Network officials including director Michael Goldstein allegedly bullied Nassau University Medical Center staff into declaring the teen dead, stating during a conference call: 'This kid is dead, you got that?'

McMahon, an Air Force Combat veteran, said he believed the 19-year-old could have recovered.  'I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat,' he said. 'I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover.

He said that the donor network makes 'millions and millions' from selling the organs they obtain to hospitals and to insurance companies for transplants.

'Hearts, lungs, kidneys, joints, bones, skin graphs, intestines, valves, eyes -- it's all big money,' he said.

The Air Force Combat veteran and former nurse added that financially strained hospitals are easily influenced to declare a patient brain dead because they're keen to free up bed space.

The lawsuit cites three other examples of patients who were still clinging to life when doctors gave a 'note' - an official declaration by a hospital that a patient is brain dead, which, as well as consent from next of kin, is required before a transplant can take place.
McMahon has accused the donor network of having a 'quota' system and hiring 'coaches' to teach staff how to be more persuasive in convincing family members to give consent to organ donation.

He said 'counseling' staff are like sales teams who are pressured to meet targets and threatened with the loss of their jobs if they fall short.

'If you don't meet the quotas then you'll get fired - that's a fact. I saw it happen,' he said.

'You're not there for grief counseling, you're there to get organs. It's all about sales -- and that's pretty much a direct quote from the organization. Counsellors are required to get a 30 per cent consent rate from families.'  McMahon added that staff members who collect the most organs throughout the year qualify for a Christmas bonus.

This is a total scandal.  I urge you to read Bleeding Heart Cadavers

The exam for brain death is simple. A doctor splashes ice water in your ears (to look for shivering in the eyes), pokes your eyes with a cotton swab and checks for any gag reflex, among other rudimentary tests. It takes less time than a standard eye exam. Finally, in what's called the apnea test, the ventilator is disconnected to see if you can breathe unassisted. If not, you are brain dead. (Some or all of the above tests are repeated hours later for confirmation.)

Here's the weird part. If you fail the apnea test, your respirator is reconnected. You will begin to breathe again, your heart pumping blood, keeping the organs fresh. Doctors like to say that, at this point, the "person" has departed the body. You will now be called a BHC, or beating-heart cadaver.
You might also be emitting brainwaves. Most people are surprised to learn that many people who are declared brain dead are never actually tested for higher-brain activity. The 1968 Harvard committee recommended that doctors use electroencephalography (EEG) to make sure the patient has flat brain waves. Today's tests concentrate on the stalk-like brain stem, in charge of basics such as breathing, sleeping and waking. The EEG would alert doctors if the cortex, the thinking part of your brain, is still active.

But various researchers decided that this test was unnecessary, so it was eliminated from the mandatory criteria in 1971.
And how about some anesthetic?
Although he doesn't believe the brain dead feel pain, Dr. Truog has used two light anesthetics, high-dose fentanyl and sufentanil, which won't harm organs, to quell high blood pressure or heart rate during harvesting operations. "If it were my family," he said, "I'd request them."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:38 PM | Permalink

August 21, 2012

50 years after her death, the Marilyn Monroe estate earns $27-$30 million a year

Marilyn Monroe's estate earned $27 million last year and is looking at earning $30 million this year.  Her Facebook page (3.5 million likes) and her twitter account keep her in the public eye, 50 years after her death.

@MarilynMonroe, "tweeting on behalf of the Estate of Marilyn Monroe"—which, at last count, has 64,352 followers and is even verified.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:59 PM | Permalink

August 17, 2012

"Government-run Chinese medicine has become a lethal enterprise"

George Weigel, Can organ-harvesters be Number One?  Government-run Chinese medicine has become a lethal enterprise.

Gutmann estimates that some 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners had their organs “harvested, their hearts still beating, before the 2008 Olympics.” An indeterminate number of Chinese House Christians and Tibetans almost certainly suffered the same fate. Something far worse than garden-variety human rights abuse is going on here, Gutmann concludes: “China, a state rapidly approaching superpower status … has, for over a decade, perverted the most trusted area of human expertise (i.e., medicine) into performing what is, in the legal parlance of human rights, targeted elimination of a specific group” (Ethan Gutmann, “The Xinjiang Procedure,” Weekly Standard, Dec. 5, 2011).
Can a regime, no matter how powerful, become the world’s lodestar if it is morally corrupted by an utter disregard for the dignity and sanctity of human life? The 20th century gave one, negative, answer to that question; I suspect, and certainly hope, that the 21st century’s answer will be the same.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:52 AM | Permalink

July 26, 2012

Incan child sacrifice mummy 500-years-old still has lung infection

 Incan Mummy 500-Year-Old

Incan mummy frozen after human sacrifice still has infection in lungs after 500 years - giving new insight into diseases of the past

A 500-year-old frozen Incan mummy known as 'The Maiden' was suffering from a bacterial infection when she died - and being able to 'diagnose' the disease could lead to new insights into diseases of the past.  The discovery could help defend against new illnesses - or the re-emergence of diseases of the past. The mummy was suffering from an illness similar to tuberculosis when she was sacrificed on the Argentinian volcano Llullaillaco, 22,100 feet above sea level.

The find - using a new technique of swabbing the lips and comparing the swabs with those of current patients - is the first time a disease has been 'diagnosed' in such an ancient body.  ‘Pathogen detection in ancient tissues isn't new, but until now it's been impossible to say whether the infectious agent was latent or active,’ says Corthals.
The analysis was possible because of the incredible preservation of the mummy, which is so well-preserved there were still lice in her hair.

The team swabbed the lips of two Andean Inca mummies, buried at 22,000-feet elevation and originally discovered in 1999, and compared the proteins they found to large databases of the human genome.
They found that the protein profile from the mummy of a 15-year old girl, called ‘The Maiden,’ was similar to that of chronic respiratory infection patients, and the analysis of the DNA showed the presence of probably pathogenic bacteria in the genus Mycobacterium, responsible for upper respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis. In addition, X-rays of the lungs of the Maiden showed signs of lung infection at the time of death.  The mummies were found in 1999.

‘The doctors have been shaking their heads and saying they sure don't look 500 years old but as if they'd died a few weeks ago,’ said U.S. archaeologist and expedition member Johan Reinhard at the time.

‘And a chill went down my spine the first time I saw her hands because they look like those of a person who is alive.’

It's thought that the children were chosen by the Incas for their beauty and sacrificed in a ceremony called a capacocha.

‘The Incas didn't do this very often,’ according to Reinhard.

‘The sacrifices were children because they were considered to be the most pure.’

They were not sacrificed to feed or appease the gods but, rather, ‘to enter the realm of the gods and live in paradise with them. It was considered a great honor, a transition to a better life from which they would be expected to remain in contact with the community through shamans (holy men)’.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:11 PM | Permalink

July 18, 2012

Expose of the grisly trade in body parts


Expose by the International Consortium of Investigative Journallists

Skin, bones and tissue for sale: How the dead are being used for grisly trade in human body parts

On Feb. 24, Ukrainian authorities made an alarming discovery: bones and other human tissues crammed into coolers in a grimy white minibus.
Investigators grew even more intrigued when they found, amid the body parts, envelopes stuffed with cash and autopsy results written in English.

What the security service had disrupted was not the work of a serial killer but part of an international pipeline of ingredients for medical and dental products that are routinely implanted into people around the world. The seized documents suggested that the remains of dead Ukrainians were destined for a factory in Germany belonging to the subsidiary of a U.S. medical products company, Florida-based RTI Biologics.

RTI is one of a growing industry of companies that make profits by turning mortal remains into everything from dental implants to bladder slings to wrinkle cures. The industry has flourished even as its practices have roused concerns about how tissues are obtained and how well grieving families and transplant patients are informed about the realities and risks of the business. In the U.S. alone, the biggest market and the biggest supplier, an estimated two million products derived from human tissue are sold each year, a figure that has doubled over the past decade.

It is an industry that promotes treatments and products that literally allow the blind to see (through cornea transplants) and the lame to walk (by recycling tendons and ligaments for use in knee repairs). It's also an industry fueled by powerful appetites for bottom-line profits and fresh human bodies.

An eight-month, 11-country investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has found, however, that the tissue industry’s good intentions sometimes are in conflict with the rush to make money from the dead.

Inadequate safeguards are in place to ensure all tissue used by the industry is obtained legally and ethically, ICIJ discovered from hundreds of interviews and thousands of pages of public documents obtained through records requests in six countries.  Despite concerns by doctors that the lightly regulated trade could allow diseased tissues to infect transplant recipients with hepatitis, HIV and other pathogens, authorities have done little to deal with the risks.  In contrast to tightly-monitored systems for tracking intact organs such as hearts and lungs, authorities in the U.S. and many other countries have no way to accurately trace where recycled skin and other tissues come from and where they go.

Since 2002 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has documented at least 1,352 infections in the U.S. that followed human tissue transplants, according to an ICIJ analysis of FDA data. These infections were linked to the deaths of 40 people, the data shows.

'We have barcodes for our (breakfast) cereals, but we don’t have barcodes for our human tissues. Every patient… should know. It’s so obvious. It should be a basic patient right. It is not. That’s ridiculous.' Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, the CDC’s director of blood and biologics

One of the weaknesses of the tissue-monitoring system is the secrecy and complexity that comes with the cross-border exchange of body parts.
Cadaver bone — harvested from the dead and replaced with PVC piping for burial — is sculpted like pieces of hardwood into screws and anchors for dozens of orthopedic and dental applications.  Or the bone is ground down and mixed with chemicals to form strong surgical glues that are advertised as being better than the artificial variety.

'At the basic level what we are doing to the body, it’s a very physical - and I imagine some would say a very grotesque - thing,' said Chris Truitt, a former RTI employee in Wisconsin.  'We are pulling out arm bones. We are pulling out leg bones. We are cutting the chest open to pull the heart out to get at the valves. We are pulling veins out from the inside of skin.'  Whole tendons, scrubbed cleaned and rendered safe for transplant, are used to return injured athletes to the field of play.
In practice, though, because the U.S. supplies an estimated two-thirds of the world’s human-tissue-product needs, the FDA has effectively been left to act as sheriff for much of the planet. Foreign tissue establishments that wish to export products to the U.S. are required to register with the FDA.

Yet of the 340 foreign tissue establishments registered with the FDA, only about 7 percent have an inspection record in the FDA database, an ICIJ analysis shows. The FDA has never shut one down due to concern over illicit activities.  The data also shows that about 35 percent of active registered U.S. tissue banks have no inspection record in the FDA database.

'On the way to the cemetery, when we were in the hearse, one of his feet — we noticed that one of the shoes slipped off his foot, which seemed to be hanging loose,' his mother, Lubov Frolova, told ICIJ.    'When my daughter-in-law touched it, she said that his foot was empty.'

Later, the police showed her a list of what had been taken from her son’s body.  'Two ribs, two Achilles heels, two elbows, two eardrums, two teeth, and so on. I couldn’t read it till the end, as I felt sick. I couldn’t read it,' she said.

'I heard that [the tissues] were shipped to Germany to be used for the plastic surgeries and also for donation. I have nothing against donation, but it should be done according to the law.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 AM | Permalink

July 4, 2012

'Freedom Undertaker'

A Thief boasts that he has robbed the graves of famous composers and extracted their teeth and dentures for his gruesome historical collection of dental works

Ondrej Jajcaj calls himself a "Freedom Undertaker'  and describes how he robbed graves in a YouTube video.

Jajcaj revealed his identity on a website where he describes himself as a 'Freedom Undertaker' and takes viewers on a tour of famous graves in the Viennese Central Cemetery and shows where they have been opened.

In one video Jajcaj gives a tour of his collection of stolen teeth, claiming: 'Now, we come to the major pedestal. On the top are the teeth of Johann Strauss Jr. To the left there are dentures of his wife Adele Strauss.

'To the right, we have rubber prosthesis of Johannes Brahms. Here, I, as an amateur have managed to build illegal historical collection of dental works.'

The two composer’s graves were opened earlier this year and it was found they were missing their teeth, both real and false.

Austrian authorities decided to order checks on the graves of other famous composers buried in the same cemetery, including Beethoven, Schubert and Schoenberg.

When cemetery officials first alerted police about the raids, they decided it was not worth investigating and any crime fell outside of Austria’s statute of limitations.

That was before the disturbing videos went online.  Now they are embarrassed and hunting for the Freedom Undertaker.

 Ondrej Jajcaj Freedom Undertaker

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:32 AM | Permalink

February 24, 2012

Grave robbing, ghost marriages, gendercide,

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that by 2020, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women.  These non-existent women were killed in the womb because they were girls.  The Economist reports on The worldwide war on baby girls.

[W]ithin ten years, China faces the prospect of having the equivalent of the whole young male population of America, or almost twice that of Europe’s three largest countries, with little prospect of marriage, untethered to a home of their own and without the stake in society that marriage and children provide.

At least 100 million girls have disappeared and the number is rising.

In fact the destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces: the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a fetus. In societies where four or six children were common, a boy would almost certainly come along eventually; son preference did not need to exist at the expense of daughters. But now couples want two children—or, as in China, are allowed only one—they will sacrifice unborn daughters to their pursuit of a son. That is why sex ratios are most distorted in the modern, open parts of China and India. It is also why ratios are more skewed after the first child: parents may accept a daughter first time round but will do anything to ensure their next—and probably last—child is a boy. The boy-girl ratio is above 200 for a third child in some places.

What happens when the natural balance of the sexes is upset . 

Chinese grave robbing gang caught selling DEAD woman into marriage days after family had done the same to fulfill superstition

A Chinese gang of grave robbers was caught trying to sell a dead woman into marriage - days after her family had done exactly the same thing.

The woman's devastated parents,from the rural Hebei Province near Beijing and with the surname Wu, initially chose to sell her body for £3,500, for a 'ghost marriage'.

This is the ancient tradition where dead woman are united with bachelors to stop them wandering the afterlife alone.

But just days later grave robbers snatched her corpse and tried to pair her off, with another dead man in a nearby town.

Police caught the gang of five offering the woman to another family for £3,000, a slight discount to reflect several days of decomposition.

Black market businesses have sprung up, with many acting as cadaver brokers, matchmakers for the dead, body snatchers, crooked undertakers and grave robbers.

In 2007, a man was arrested after killing and then selling six women.

He claimed that 'killing people and selling their bodies is less work than stealing them from graves.'

But don't think that sex selective abortions happen only in China or India.

In England there is shock when it was revealed that doctors were offering mothers abortions based purely on the gender of their unborn child even though abortion based on 'sex-selection' is against the law.

Doctors 'agree to abort babies for being the wrong sex...no questions asked'

‘This investigation confirms the reality of eugenics in modern British medicine, in which some innocent human beings are deemed too inconvenient to be allowed to live.

There is no law in the United States against sex-selective abortions.  Such abortions are common in the United States particularly 
among the Asian populations.
      Why no such law? Nearly nine out of ten Americans oppose abortion for reasons of sex selection, but  The feminists are against it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:30 PM | Permalink

October 19, 2011

They buried the lede in an article about snow

Claire Berlinski reads the Guardian carefully.  Otherwise, how would she know that nine paragraphs into an article about snow removal in Moscow comes this:

... According to police, the 54-year-old chef at the unnamed restaurant, well-known for its chebureki, or big meat-filled pastries, killed his 82-year-old father-in-law during a drunken brawl. Police refused to confirm or deny a report by tabloid Life News that the chef then ran his father-in-law's body through a meat grinder in order to fill his chebureki – and serve them to customers for three days before being caught and sent to a psychiatric institution.

These tales would fill most readers with horror, but in Russia they are so commonplace as to as to barely inspire a raised eyebrow. What's more, the system is such that whistle-blowers are actively discouraged from speaking out.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:21 PM | Permalink

September 25, 2011

Paying the dead

The Office of Personnel Management manages the civil service of the federal government but they still haven't managed to note when retirees die.

Gov't paid $600 million in benefits to dead people

The federal government has doled out more than $600 million in benefit payments to dead people over the past five years, a watchdog report says.

Such payments are meant for retired or disabled federal workers, but sometimes the checks keep going out even after the former employees pass away and the deaths are not reported,
In one case, the son of a beneficiary continued receiving payments for 37 years after his father's death in 1971. The payments - totaling more than $515,000 - were only discovered when the son died in 2008.

The government has been aware of the problem since a 2005 inspector general's report revealed defects in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Yet the improper payments have continued, despite more than a half dozen attempts to develop a system that can figure out which beneficiaries are still alive and which are dead, the report said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:22 PM | Permalink

June 29, 2011

What Tina Brown will do for money

Fourteen years after she died suddenly and tragically, on the eve of what would have been her 50th birthday  and with her sons still alive,  the editor in chief of Newsweek, Tina Brown, presents us with this.

 Katediana Newsweek

There are words for this cover of Newsweek complete with an imaginary Facebook page  - creepy, ghastly, bad taste, jarring and offensive -  I cringe when I think of how her sons will feel when they read this.  Anything for money.

The Daily Mail describes the piece by editor-in-chief Tina Brown so you don't have to read it .


One would have thought that Newsweek could not have descended lower than it already had in the business of delivering news. But with Ms. Brown at the helm, it seems as though there are greater depths to achieve than heretofore thought possible.

"There's bad taste, then there's this mess"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:59 AM | Permalink

June 2, 2011

Child Martyr now a Potent Sumbol

Only 13, he was picked up by Syrian security forces at a protest in Dar'a, April 29.  A month later, his parents received his body which revealed  Torture of the child martyr: 'Rebel', 13, shot, kneecapped and had genitals removed before being killed by Syria's sadistic regime 

Devotedly washed and sprinkled with rose petals, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb lies prepared for burial.

But the rituals of death cannot wipe away the horrific injuries that have mutilated his body almost beyond recognition.

Nor do they blot out that Hamza - riddled with bullets, kneecapped and with neck broken and penis hacked off - has the rounded cheeks and gentle face of a child.

The gruesome video of his mutilated body has been posted online and broadcast on Al Jazeera fueling the anger of protestors

Radwan Ziadeh, an exiled human rights activist told the Washington Post the boy had already become a symbol of the Syrian revolution.

'(His death) is the sign of the sadism of the Assad regime and its security forces,' he said.

'Torture is usual in Syria. It’s not something new or strange. What is special about Hamza is that he was only 13 years old. He really is a child.

The young child martyr has now become a symbol for Syria's revolution

 Childmartyr Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement, quoted by Reuters, reflects an increasingly harsh position towards Syrian president Bashar al-Assad:

“I think what [Hamza's death] symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:42 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2011

Mom's cremation secretly filmed and shown on TV

Imagine how you would feel if you saw your Mom being cremated on TV

AN unreserved apology has been publicly given to a Waterford family left traumatized by a TG4 program screened on January 13 that showed their late mother being embalmed at a Dungarvan undertakers.

The family was traumatized after switching over to the TV station to witness their deceased mother’s entire embalming process being secretly filmed.  They took legal action and received an out-of-court settlement from producers.

The relatives of Noreen McGrath, 71, from Dungarvan, took the case after watching TG4’s controversial Adhlacóirí (undertakers) program which followed undertakers in Dungarvan, Connemara and Donegal.
The five children of Mrs. McGrath, who passed away at Waterford Regional Hospital in September 2007, were unaware of any recording when they tuned into the show on January 13.

They immediately recognized their mother’s body on Dungarvan undertakers James Kiely and Sons’ slab as incisions were made and blood was drained from her remains.

The family said they had never given permission for the work to be filmed and were unaware of any potential coverage between 2007 and the 2010 broadcast -- a statement TG4 has acknowledged is accurate.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2011

Looking at the whole picture



World Around the Net calls it Vultures at the Feast .

Instead of photographers, suddenly these men look like vultures. And the image of the Haitian men watching these white photographers gather around snapping pictures of their fellow islander adds to the disquiet. Its too late to save Fabienne's life, and clearly she didn't show much good sense. I mean, if you're going to loot, take something you need not just whatever crap you could find, and don't loot in Haiti where you know the police will shoot to kill.

The real story here, though, is the crowd of men taking pictures of a girl. One of them grins as he rests his camera. The others are focused on taking that prize-winning photo, without thinking of the humanity of their subject or any dignity for her body. She's just an object to capture.

What's worse is that by this time, her family had arrived and were grieving over their lost daughter and sister.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:26 PM | Permalink

April 3, 2011

Plan to incorporate 9/11 bone fragments into wall in museum

'It will be like a freak show': 9/11 victims' families outrage at plans to put bone and tissue remains inside new museum

The families of victims of the 9/11 attacks whose remains were never found have reacted with horror at plans to incorporate bone and tissue fragments found in the debris into a new museum wall.

Of the 2,792 people who died at the World Trade Center site, 41 per cent have not been identified, with 9,041 pieces of human remains still being sorted through in attempts for DNA matches.

Officials for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which will be underneath where the twin towers stood, want to place the remains behind a quotation by Virgil made by twin towers steel.

But victims’ families have said they are unhappy at the possible remains of their loved ones being used to lure tourists.

Rosemary Cain, who lost her firefighter son, George, added that putting the remains in the same space as the museum is ‘like a freak show.’
But officials at the museum say the remains will be invisible to the public, hidden behind the Virgil quote: ‘No day shall erase you from the memory of time’ held together with pieces of metal salvaged from the twin towers.
But Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, an expert on the repatriation of Native American remains at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, disagrees.

He said, even if the remains are hidden: ‘They are essentially incorporating the human remains room into the visitor experience.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:27 AM | Permalink

February 1, 2011

Excess heat

If you knew that your town was considering heating the community swimming pool you so enjoy with excess heat from the crematorium next door to save money, would you still swim there?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 PM | Permalink

January 17, 2011

Doctor Death

Last night, Al Pacino won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the "suicide doctor" Dr. Kevorkian in the HBO produced "You Don't Know Jack"

In accepting the award, he said, “It’s a great honor for me to have portrayed such an extraordinary person as Jack Kavorkian,”

In truth, Kevorkian was a ghoul.

Listen to Wesley Smith on The Disturbing Rehabilitation of Dr. Kevorkian.

When Jack Kevorkian came to the nation’s attention in the 1990s, reporters at first depicted him — correctly — as a macabre and megalomaniacal promoter of death. But he was remade into a popular icon, becoming a pet guest on 60 Minutes, treated to uncharacteristically softball interviews by Mike Wallace and fawned over by Andy Rooney, and then declared by Time magazine to be one of the major “celebrities” of the 1990s. Time even invited him to their 75th anniversary gala as a star guest. You knew the world was spinning the wrong way when Tom Cruise rushed up to shake his hand.


Kevorkian announced his actual purpose unequivocally in his 1991 book, Prescription: Medicide. It was definitely not the relief of suffering, which he called a “first step, an early distasteful professional obligation,” stating, “What I find most satisfying is the prospect of making possible the performance of invaluable experiments or other beneficial medical acts under conditions that this first unpleasant step can help establish, in a word, obitiatry.” In other words, Kevorkian wanted to engage in human vivisection.


Before beginning his assisted suicide campaign, Kevorkian sought permission to experiment on prisoners as part of the execution process. He only turned to the ill and disabled when he had been thwarted from using the criminal justice system to satisfy his macabre obsessions.

About 70 percent of Kevorkian’s assisted suicides were not terminally ill. Most were depressed people with disabilities. Five weren’t even sick upon autopsy.

He is a eugenics believer, stating in a court document, “The voluntary self-elimination of individual mortally diseased and crippled lives taken collectively can only enhance the preservation of public health and welfare.”

He ripped out the kidneys of one of his assisted suicide victims and offered them at a press conference, “first come first served.” The “surgery” was so crude that the Oakland County Medical Examiner called it out of a “slaughterhouse” and a “bizarre mutilation.” The media barely reported the story and it is now long forgotten.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:57 PM | Permalink

January 10, 2011

Studding a baby's skull with diamonds

Dead baby's skull used as "Art"

At its best, art expresses a culture’s best virtues, greatest beauty. But these days, art is more often lauded–or at least given attention–if it is unintelligible, pornographic, subversive, disrespectful, and/or denigrates cherished values or religious traditions. One such value is the respectful way in which dead human bodies are supposed to be treated. We respect the dead because it is a way of respecting the lives that were lived in those bodies, and more broadly, the importance of being human.


When human bodies are plasticized and put on display as if they were having sexual intercourse, and a baby’s skull is studded with diamonds, it isn’t art. It is a nihilistic and decadent disrespect for the dead–which in a sense, means all of us, since we are all headed in the same direction–that speaks, I fear, of a deepening darkness in the culture.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:48 AM | Permalink

December 31, 2010

Organ trafficking in Kosovo

The newly re-elected prime minister of Kosovo headed an organized crime racket that trafficked in human organs, a two-year inquiry prepared for the Council on Europe found.

The trafficking, according to the report, evolved over time and consisted of detention centers spread through Albania that were controlled by the Kosovo Liberation Army. The military detention facilities changed in character to private residences, including Albanian farmhouses and storage barns and ultimately a makeshift operating clinic where organs were shipped out of Albania and sold to private overseas clinics.----

Captives, according to the report, were then killed — usually by a gunshot to the head — before their organs were removed. “When the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a K.L.A. gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.”

Kosovo physicians accused of organ trafficking racket

A gang of Kosovan organ traffickers operated an elaborate international network that traded in the organs of people living in extreme poverty, a court heard.

The men, including a former senior Kosovan Health Ministry official, promised poor people from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey up to €14,500 (£12,300) for their organs.

Those who received the organs – including patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel – paid between €80,000 and €100,000 for them, Ratel said. The victims, however, were never paid, the European Union prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told Pristina District Court.

Jihad Watch reports news from Serbianna that organ profits deposited in Islamic charities.

Serbian war crimes prosecutor says that the Kosovo Albanian criminal boss, Hashim Thaci, used bank accounts designated as Islamic charity to deposit profits he earned by selling organs he extracted from captured Serbs....

Names of some of those accounts are Help For Kosovo, Medicare, Caravan, Al- Haramajin, Taibah International. etc.

Serbian prosecution says that the FBI has also uncovered these accounts after the 9/11 attacks but it is not specified why the FBI withheld the information about Thaci. […]

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:42 AM | Permalink

November 16, 2010

Fake funeral to con money from family and friends

Mother held fake funeral for her daughter to con money from family and friends

Angela Boyd arranged the funeral service after claiming her 15-year-old daughter Kaitlin had been raped and killed by her father.

Dozens of people turned up to pay their last respects - unaware the teenager was alive and well and living in another state.

Boyd had placed a collection tin in the church which read: 'Donations to the Autistic Society in memory of Kaitlin

But her scam came to an end when her brother interrupted the funeral and announced to the stunned congregation that the 'dead' girl was alive.

Boyd, 38, ran in tears from the church in Richmond, Indiana, without taking any of the money.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:03 PM | Permalink

November 10, 2010

New proposed anti-smoking ads

The new proposed anti-smoking ads proposed by the FDA go too far.  They will cover half of the front of every cigarette package.

That means behind every counter where they sell cigarettes - the convenience store, the liquor store, the supermarket - we will be looking at images of dead bodies.

I'm all for momento mori, but these strike me as crass and vulgar, another overbearing regulation from those that know better than us, but less than normal people about civil society.

Who believes that anyone will stop smoking because of these ads? 

Yes, I think people should stop smoking.  But I don't think it's the role of the federal government to force such graphic images on cigarette makers and all the rest of us.


The FDA is soliciting comments prior to issuing its final regulation.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:36 PM | Permalink

November 1, 2010

Stockpiling bodies

Look what they are proposing in England

Stockpiling bodies to cut the cost of cremations

Bodies will be stockpiled for cremation under new rules to cut costs and
carbon emissions.

Rather than being cremated straight after a funeral, corpses will be stored for days in coffins or body bags in local authority buildings so they can be incinerated in one go.

Council bosses claim the decision to use cremators during one period rather than after every service will cut down on energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

But critics described the scheme as ‘obscene’ and ‘undignified’.
The policy will leave families having to return up to a week later to the crematorium to collect the ashes, causing unnecessary additional stress.

Crematoriums in Warwickshire are already operating the system and Redditch Council in Worcestershire is piloting the scheme before deciding whether to make it permanent.

Conservative MP Philip Davies said: ‘This is absolutely ludicrous.

‘There should be some dignity for these people being cremated and their family.

‘This will have no effect whatsoever on climate change and is just another way for local authorities to save money.
‘Councils have lost sight of what they were set up to do in the first place – serve the people and not obsess about climate change.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:08 AM | Permalink

October 25, 2010

"Germany must not be allowed to become a hub of the corpse trade"

Gunther von Hagens goes even lower than his infamous Body Worlds exhibit that travelled the world displaying  real human bodies of most likely executed Chinese prisoners he had obtained from a medical university in China that had been plastinized, nothing more than skinned cadavers for profit.

I thought he couldn't go lower than his next exhibit that was dedicated solely to dead bodies having sex as part of the Body Worlds exhibitions. even with the news that Michael Jackson expressed his wish to be plastinized by Dr. Death.

In China, a ghastly new industry has grown in cleaning, cutting, dissecting, preserving and re-engineering human corpses, preparing them for the international museum exhibition market.

Not content with the tens of millions of dollars von Hagens has made with his exhibitions, he is now planning to sell human body parts online.

A whole body from www.plastination-products.com costs about 70,000 euros ($97,400), torsos start at 55,644 euros and heads come in at around 22,000 euros each -- excluding postage and packaging.

For those on a tighter budget, transparent body slices are available from 115 euros each.


The online shop has outraged leading members of Germany's religious community. In a joint statement, Protestant regional bishop Ulrich Fischer and Catholic archbishop Robert Zollitsch condemned the online body shop, which they said was "breaking a taboo."

Zollitsch said "human dignity is sacrosanct -- even after death -- so the human body shouldn't be degraded and made into an object of spectacle, or a stock of spare parts."
They said that "Germany must not be allowed to become a hub of the corpse trade."

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said, “This is not about new discoveries for science and research, but about picking at bones and spectacle under the guise of medical enlightenment,”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:23 PM | Permalink

October 7, 2010

Fighting Words

Jonah Goldberg on The Hidden Law, Fighting Words & Phelps

If this country worked more properly, if you saw  whole bunch of battered, bruised and bloodied people in an emergency room, you might ask “What happened to them?”

Then someone would say, “Oh they went to a Marine’s funeral and shouted something about ‘fags’ and  ‘thank God for dead soldiers.’ Then they wouldn’t leave when asked. So they got their asses beat.”

And you’d respond, “Ah. Sounds about right.”

And then you’d go about your day.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:48 AM | Permalink

October 2, 2010

Horror at discovering son's brain on display at morgue

Another horrifying story.

Parents to sue NYC after dead son's brain is spotted floating in jar by classmates during field trip to city mortuary

A Staten Island couple are suing New York City after making the horrific discovery that their dead son's brain was on display at a city mortuary.

Jesse Shipley was 17 when he died in a car crash in 2005.

Recently some of his former classmates at Port Richmond High School were at the morgue for a field trip when they spotted Jesse's brain floating in a display jar.

The discovery devastated Andre and Korisha Shipley, who said they had no idea Jesse's brain had been removed post-mortem.

After the incident, the city returned the brain and the family disinterred their son from a cemetery so they could bury him with the missing organ.

A city doctor said the brain had been kept for additional tests related to the post-mortem.

How they knew it was Jesse Shipley is not revealed.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:06 PM | Permalink

June 25, 2010

Cashing in on despair

The penniless founder of Dignitas 'now a multi-millionaire'

The founder of controversial Swiss suicide firm Dignitas has become a  millionaire since setting up the group, a respected magazine has found.

Ludwig Minelli was virtually penniless when he founded  the Swiss firm 12 years ago but was worth more than £1million by 2007, according to an investigation.

Although assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, it is against the law to  profit financially from someone’s death. 
The investigation by Swiss magazine Beobachter says Mr Minelli is  'skating on thin ice'.

The report, headlined Unexplained Wealth,asks: 'How could a 77-year-old pensioner amass so much wealth?'

It says the former journalist, who is also a qualified lawyer, had no assets in  1998 but is now worth a fortune and owns a large house near Zurich.

Other posts on Dignitas

"It's Like Throwing Out Rubbish"  Dozens of urns containing human remains from Dignitas were found at the bottom of Lake Zurich.

Suicide on Demand for the Healthy is a "marvelous possibility" according to the founder while an employee nurse quit saying she was appalled at the way people were treated and the contemptuous behavior of her boss who was "cashing in on despair".  Minelli, she said, made the clients sign over all their possessions and sold their personal effects to pawn shops rather than returning them to their families.

Among the clients of Minelli who's  planning a Chain of Suicide Clinics are those who are not terminally ill but have conditions such as osteoporosis, epilepsy or mental illness.


In Oregon, a psychiatrist wants to get into the "death with dignity" business where, for a fee, people can commit assisted suicide.  Only problem is that Stuart Weisberg's medical license was suspended for drug prescribing irregularities.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 PM | Permalink

May 13, 2010

When euthanasia is coupled with organ donation

Moreover, agreeing to harvest organs from euthanasia/assisted suicides raises the very realistic prospect that despairing people with terminal illnesses or disabilities (or perhaps, just despair) could latch onto being killed for their organs as a way of bringing meaning to their lives.  This is very dangerous territory, made all the more treacherous by doctors, spouses, and a respected medical journal validating the ideas that dead is better than disabled and that living patients can, essentially, be viewed as a natural resource to be killed and mined.

Wesley Smith in Belgian Doctors Euthanized Disable Patient and Harvested Organs

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:24 AM | Permalink

April 30, 2010

You Don't Know Jack "An exercise in moral botox"

I've always thought of Jack Kevorkian as a moral creep and a murderer so I wasn't planning on watching the HBO show even if Al Pacino plays him in You Don't Know Jack.      Mary Eberstadt calls it "an exercise in moral botox".

Finally, a Hollywood offering that even the most cynical critic could not possibly have made up: a multimillion dollar commercial catapult aimed at hurling into the progressive pantheon one of its most macabre demigods ever -- a convicted murderer and "assistant" to the deaths of more than 100 people, whose early enthusiasms included siphoning blood from corpses into living humans and experimenting with the eyeballs of the dying and dead; whose public statements about the uselessness of the sick amount to Goebbels Lite; and whose artistic offerings include subjects like decapitation and a child eating the flesh off a decomposing corpse. Did we mention that Kevorkian sometimes painted with his own blood?

Yes, that is just part of the record now being scrubbed clean by "You Don't Know Jack," a gorgeously shot HBO movie about Doctor Death directed by the exquisitely acute Barry Levinson, written by the able Adam Mazer, and featuring the incomparable Al Pacino with an all-star backup -- virtually every member of which is a Hollywood progressive in fine standing.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:50 AM | Permalink

April 29, 2010

'I've kicked the bucket"

There may be an organization that does more crass and tawdry ads than PETA, but I don't know of any.

PETA is buying ads on cremation urns.


Ad on urn: 'I've kicked the bucket - have you?'

A Springfield man has sold out ad space he is selling on his own urn.

Aaron Jamison has terminal cancer and was given only months to live by his doctors. Knowing his fate is all but sealed, he decided to sell ads on his own urn so his wife Kristin won’t have to worry about cremation costs when he dies.

Now, the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has snapped up two of the ads.

For $200.

The second ad encourages people to adopt homeless animals. It reads “People who buy purebred dogs really burn me up. Always adopt.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:13 PM | Permalink

April 28, 2010

The Monster State

Wesley Smith calls China a "monster state" after More Evidence That China Killing Dissidents and Selling Their Organs

Now, new charges have been leveled that not only are Falun Gong still being preyed upon and their organs sold, but so too are Tibetans and other dissidents.
In a news conference on Capitol Hill, several speakers, including attorney David Matas of B’nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said their investigations have unearthed a grisly trade in which an estimated 9,000 members of Falun Gong have been executed for their corneas, lungs, livers, kidneys and skins.

They likened the practice to the Nazi treatment of Jewish prisoners in World War II concentration camps, which included using them for sadistic medical experiments and taking the gold fillings from the teeth of corpses.
The newest wrinkle, they said, is that organs from other religious prisoners — specifically dissidents from China’s Christian, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist communities — are also being harvested to satisfy an insatiable global demand. “These groups are useless to the state,” Mr. Gutmann said. “They are toxic, so you can’t release them. But they’re worth a great deal of money in terms of their organs.” Organs from just one person can fetch a total of $100,000 on the worldwide market, he added.”…

Doesn't it horrify you that China, willing to kill people for their organs and engage in female genocide through the  abortion of 500,000 and 750,000 unborn Chinese girls  every year after sex screening just because they are female, will not be the subject of any international investigation nor any outrage by U.S. officials who do not want to offend the country that holds so much of our debt.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:53 AM | Permalink

“It is like throwing out rubbish”

Urns In The Lake Of Zurich

Dozens of cremation urns from the Swiss clinic of intentional death were found at the bottom of Lake Zurich.

The controversial Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas is likely to come under fresh scrutiny after divers discovered dozens of cremation urns on the bed of Lake Zurich.

“After 50, we stopped counting,” Roman Ruetz, a police diver, said. “They lay there in a big heap.” On being brought to the surface the urns were found to contain ashes.

There is little that directly connects Dignitas, which operates near by, with the urns, apart from the fact that they carried the logo of the Nordheim crematorium used by the suicide clinic.

One former employee and long-standing Dignitas critic, Soraya Wernli, told The Times 18 months ago that the clinic had dropped at least 300 urns in the lake.

Ludwig Minelli, the founder of Dignitas, refused to comment yesterday.
“If water burials are being conducted on a commercial basis and any promised ceremonies are not being performed, then that is unacceptable,” Nicolas Mori, a spokesman for the Zurich church council, said. “It is like throwing out rubbish.”

The grisly find has prompted authorities to investigate whether the disposal of the ashes contravenes environmental protection laws or violates the dignity of the dead and the contract between cremator and bereaved family.

Wolfgang Bollack, a spokesman for the local construction and environmental agency, said: “We have filed a criminal complaint against unknown persons for disturbance of the dead.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:02 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2010

Tax Returns of the Living Dead

In some counties, dead people vote; in New York they filed for tax refunds

Operation Brass Tax

26 tax preparers charged with ID theft and other scams

Dead people were claiming tax refunds and the children of strangers were listed as dependents.

Those were among the bold scams that 26 Bronx and Manhattan tax preparers were allegedly using to claim the bulk of about $95 million in refunds since 2001, prosecutors said Thursday.

Besides seeing dead people, investigators also spotted deductions for businesses that don't exist, inflated commissions and identity theft of people living in Puerto Rico, frequent victims of such scams because they have social security numbers but don't have to file federal tax returns, prosecutors said.

Exactly a week before the April 15th tax filing deadline, authorities on Thursday announced "the largest coordinated takedown of tax preparers in history" calling it, what else, "Operation Brass Tax."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:32 AM | Permalink

March 23, 2010

No Angel of Mercy

A male nurse in Minnesota has been linked by police to several suicides he encouraged for his own amusement.

46 year old William Francis Melchert-Dinkel a married father of two has allegedly cruised the Internet for a number of years looking for suicidal people whom he could persuade to kill themselves on webcam for his amusement.

While posing as a young woman, Melchert-Dinkel would befriend his victims and provide them with assistance. According to the UK Daily Mail.

"Most important is the placement of the noose on the neck,' he allegedly wrote in one web chat. He then went on to detail where to place the knot ‘for instant unconsciousness and death.'

He has allegedly admitted to U.S. police that he was involved in at least four deaths, including that of an 18-year-old Canadian student Nadia Kajouji.

This Nurse No Angel of Mercy

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:18 AM | Permalink

March 9, 2010

Body of former President stolen for ransom

Three months passed before the stolen body of the former President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadoplous, was discovered in a shallow grave.

Thieves had stolen the body to hold it for ransom said the government in Cyprus even as the family denied a ransom request was made.

The report Ex-president's body stolen for ransom explains that the police received a tip-off that he had been buried in the grave of another person.  DNA evidence confirmed the proper identification.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:50 PM | Permalink

November 20, 2009

Killed to extract their fat UPDATED

Grotesque beyond belief.

Gang 'killed victims to extract their fat'

Peruvian police arrest suspects who allegedly drained their victims and sold liquid as an anti-wrinkle treatment.

The jailed men have confessed to killing five people, but police suspect the number of victims is far higher, with 60 people reported missing in Huánuco this year alone. Two of the suspects were arrested at a bus station in the capital, Lima, carrying bottles of liquid fat which they claimed were worth up to £36,000 a gallon.

At a news conference police displayed two bottles of fat, which laboratory tests confirmed were human. "The fat was extracted from the thorax and thighs," said Eusebio Felix Murga, chief of police of Dirincri district. Police also showed a photo of the rotting head of a 27-year-old male victim discovered last month in a coca-growing valley.

Police said they received a tip four months ago about a trade in human fat, which exported the amber liquid to Europe as anti-wrinkle cream.
The gang have been nicknamed the Pishtacos after the ruthless assassins of indigenous Quechua legend who ambushed solitary victims and drained their fat as an offering to gods to make the land fertile. Another version depicts them as cannibal bandits who ate the skin and sold the fat. The stories date back to before the European conquest.

The suspects allegedly would sever victims' heads, arms and legs, remove organs and suspend torsos from hooks above candles, which warmed the flesh as the fat dripped into tubs below. Members claimed other gangs were engaged in similar killings.


Peru's police chief has suspended a top investigator for saying he had caught a gang who were murdering people to sell their fat.

Last month, top organised crime investigator Felix Murga said police had arrested four suspects who confessed to murdering up to 60 people. He said they were selling their fat for thousands of dollars a litre.

But the macabre tale now appears to be nothing more than a tall story - or a big fat lie.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:19 PM | Permalink

September 3, 2009

The Global Body Parts Business

Inside a Creepy Global Body Parts Business

The German company Tutogen's business in body parts is as secretive as it is lucrative. It extracts bones from corpses in Ukraine to manufacture medical products, as part of a global market worth billions that is centered in the United States.
In doing so, they reuse almost everything the human body has to offer: bones, cartilage, tendons, muscle fascia, skin, corneas, pericardial sacs and heart valves. In the jargon of the profession, all of this is referred to as tissue.

Bones and tendons, the parts that interest Tutogen the most, are subjected to complex processing. The company degreases and cleans bones, cuts, saws or mills them into the desired shapes, then sterilizes, packages and sells the finished product in more than 40 countries around the world. With a prescription, it is even possible to order Tutogen's products through online pharmacies.
It's a completely different story in the United States. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than a million bone parts are used in transplants every year. In no other country is it possible to make so much money with body parts. If a body were disassembled into its individual parts, then processed and sold, the total proceeds could amount to $250,000 (€176,000). For a single corpse! The US tissue industry generates total revenues of about $1 billion a year, says journalist Martina Keller, a co-author of this article and the author of the German book, "Cannibalized: The Human Corpse as a Resource."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:35 AM | Permalink

August 30, 2009

China admits to harvesting organs from executed prisoners

China admits that 65% of Organ "Donations" Come from Death Row Prisoners

In a rare admission of the extent to which this takes place, China Daily - citing unnamed experts - said on Wednesday that more than 65% of organ donations come from death row prisoners.

China executes more people than any other country. Amnesty International said at least 1,718 people were given the death penalty in 2008.

 Organ-Harvesting Death-Row

Many of the executed are Falun Gong, a new religion in China that uses  physical exercise much like qigong   to cultivate the qualities if  truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.    In the materialistic culture of China, Falun Gong may have attracted as many as 70 million adherents.  When several thousand appeared on day in 1999 in a silent protest ,  they terrified with government who arrested them all and  began an all-out persecution of the sect.

The China Daily quoted Vice-Health Minister Huang Jiefu as saying that condemned prisoners were "definitely not a proper source for organ transplants".

The new scheme is therefore designed to reduce the reliance on death row inmates, as well as regulating the industry by combating the illegal trafficking of organs.

China admits to organ tourism

Whose organ do you want?
Death vans

Some of the corpses are sold to be skinned and then displayed in the  Bodies exhibition touring the country

More on skinned cadavers for profit

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:12 PM | Permalink

June 15, 2009

White Crosses Mark Murders

Xeni Jarden from Boing Boing is just back from Guatemala where some 20 murders a day take place and 98% of all violent crime goes is not investigated and not prosecuted.

White Crosses to Mark Murders

 Guatemala-White Crosses

Prensa Libre today, caption: "Today, the principle roads of the city appeared painted with white crosses, an action of the Civic National Movement to remember the victims of violence and impunity."

(Photo: Prensa Libre: Óscar Estrada)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:02 PM | Permalink

March 18, 2009

Digging up bodies for a living

From the Body Farm to mystery writer to celebrity, Bill Blass will give you facts you'll never forget like:  “It takes longer to burn a 90-pound individual than a 300-pound individual,.  The increased amount of fat on the larger individual accelerates the cremation process.”

The Cult of Forensic Expert Dr. Bill Blass

Such is the extraordinary, sometimes disconcerting, appeal of forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass. His straight talk about pulverizing bones and rotting cadavers has found a dedicated audience that cuts across age, gender, socioeconomic, education, and even international boundaries. He’s always been popular with students at UT, where he founded the Forensic Anthropology Center, also known as the Body Farm, and retired 14 years ago. He’s long been deeply appreciated by academician colleagues, scientists, and the law enforcement agencies that benefit from his detective work.

But now Bass has another fan base: mystery readers. Since 2006, he’s collaborated with Jon Jefferson to produce four Body Farm forensic detective novels as “Jefferson Bass.” Half a million Jefferson Bass books have been printed as of 2008, the first in 14 languages, and two have already become New York Times bestsellers. The main character in all is one Dr. Bill Brockton, who works as a forensic anthropologist at UT’s Body Farm and consultant to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The latest addition, Bones of Betrayal, came out Feb. 3, a couple weeks after the packed house speech at the UT Center. The sign in front of Hargreaves Booksellers for two weeks before said simply, “Dr. Bass book signing,” and the date.

At an age—81—when most are quietly contemplating a round of golf or what’s for lunch, Bass is once again half of a book tour celebrity team.

How does he deal with dead bodies?

Both of Bass’ first two wives died of cancer. “My first wife and I met in the service,” he says. “I was in the infantry, and then transferred to the Medical Corps. When we first came to University of Tennessee in 1971, she taught Home Ec, and I taught anthropology. She died of colon cancer in 1993. My second wife, Annette, and I were married less than three years when she died of lung cancer—she never smoked a day in her life, but her first husband did.

“I hate funerals. I hate death. I hate mourning. I don’t like that scene at all.

“I never see a forensic case as a dead body. I see it as a challenge to see if I can figure out who that individual was and what happened to them. It is interesting what your mind can do. I think that you will find quite a few people in the forensic area who are like that, who shift that thing to something that is science and not emotion.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:10 PM | Permalink

January 15, 2009

Raiding remains of dead for profit

Well, this is one way to increase city revenues.

Japanese cities raiding remains of dead for precious metals

Tokyo collected some 700 grams of gold, 500 grams of palladium and 1.9 kg of silver from cremated bodies in 2007, adding Y3.2 million (£24,600) to the city's bank account. The city also banked around Y90,000 (£690) in coins left as offering inside the coffins.
Very few of the families know what happens and what happens in the crematoriums is kept very quiet," said a Buddhist priest from Kanagawa Prefecture who often oversees traditional funerals.

"The crematorium will usually return the ashes of the whole body but as they assume the families can't use the gold then they're not doing anything wrong," he said. "And anyway, the families are usually too upset to ask about the details of their loved ones."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:09 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2009

Catching up on Grave Matters

My apologies for not posing over the holidays and my best wishes to all my readers for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Now catching up on grave matters, the North East Lincolnshire Council bans mourners from laying artificial flowers on graves because of the health and safety risk.

While the $10M lottery ticket Donald Peters bought just hours before he suffered a fatal heart attack and died  stunned his widow who only found she won when she took tickets  that had been pinned to a calendar for two months after his death to the local convenience store before throwing them out.   

"It's just such a shock," Peters, who has three children and two grandchildren, said. "I still don't believe it. In 20 years, we've won two, maybe three dollars - but never more than that."
"There's nothing that I really and truly want," Peters said, adding that she already saved up enough to replace her car. "I have a mobile [home] that I love, so I doubt I'll be moving."

Instead of dwelling on what to buy, Charlotte Peters said her thoughts have been on her husband and how grateful she is she decided not to toss his final gift to her. "I had just never handled the lottery tickets," she said. "I'm still surprised that I bothered to have them checked."

The 2008 Darwin awards are out and so far The Balloon Priest is the people's choice, a double Darwin.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas operated rocket launchers from a cemetery to shoot missles into Israel were destroyed by the IDF.  The small bodies of the children of a Hamas leader, a mentor of suicide bombers, one of the top five decision makers in Hamas  were paraded around the streets of Gaza to incite 'painful' revenge, in a ghoulish display far worse than waving the bloody shirt.

Nizar Rayan, his four wives and 10 of his children were all killed by in an Israeli air strike on his home after he ignored warnings they should go into hiding.

In grisly scenes, mourners held up the bloodied bodies of the children to the cameras in a clear attempt to blacken Israel's name and highlight its brutality.

There's more Hamas propaganda using obviously fake photos as documented in The Breath of the Beast that appears to have gulled PBS and 3 year old videos dupe many in the liberal blogosphere.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:55 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2008

Cash for corpses

Cash-for-corpses murders probed

Chinese police have arrested members of a gang suspected of murdering more than 100 disabled or elderly people and selling their corpses in a bizarre scheme to avoid cremations, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Burials have traditionally been seen as the most respectful way to handle the dead in China, but were discouraged after the Communists came to power in 1949 to conserve farmland and eradicate superstition.

The bodies were bought by wealthy families and sent for cremation in lieu of deceased relatives who were then secretly buried, the South China Morning Post reported.

The killers would trail their victims, usually mentally disabled or elderly people, "drag them into vehicles in remote areas and either strangle or poison them", the newspaper said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

August 18, 2008

"We Are Animals"

To see how low Wrangler has gone with a new ad campaign, "We Are Animals", you have to click over to Wizbang to see corpses being used to sell jeans.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:09 AM | Permalink

February 12, 2008

More on skinned cadavers for profit

I'm on record as being creeped out by the Bodies exhibition that has traveled across the country.

Skinned cadaver exhibit
Gruesome Profiting from the Dead

Now I find that There are a few things you ought to know about those 'Bodies'.

Peter Bronson answers the objections of those who say "only uptight Cincinnati" would object to the display of skinned corpses.

Last year the company that leases bodies from China had 11 touring shows of 'Bodies' and made some $30 million in profits.

Fiona Ma, a California lawmaker who passed San Francisco's ban on displaying corpses without consent, says the "grave-robbing" plastination industry in China dissects thousands of bodies for exhibits.

Human rights groups say some of those could be political or religious prisoners who were executed by the same Chinese government that harvests black-market organs.
"When I see pictures of the exhibit, I feel something," said Morris Tsai, a Chinese-American of Mount Auburn, who protested at the Museum Center. "Maybe it's in the eyes or facial structure, but I can totally see that they're Chinese and I feel sorry for them. For we have taken advantage of the fact that since they died poor and alone, that somehow consent isn't necessary to turn a human being into a museum piece."

He wonders how Americans would feel if the bodies were unclaimed victims of Katrina. The answer is obvious: There would be hell to pay.

"Allowing Chinese to be put on display diminishes me and others like me," Tsai said.

I'd say parading dead bodies for profit diminishes everybody.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:03 AM | Permalink

November 29, 2007

Not Dead Yet

After you report that 11 of your family members have been slaughtered in Iraq, you become an international sensation giving press conferences and winning great sympathy, particularly among the anti-war media ensconced in Jordan where you now live.

Imagine the embarrassment when your supposedly dead family members back in Baghdad show up and wave for the cameras and an arrest warrant has been issued against you by the new Iraqi government.

Gateway Pundit has lots more as well as photos of your supposedly dead relatives.

How Embarrassing!.. "Dead" Iraqis Show Up at Press Conference to Smile and Wave for Cameras.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:19 PM | Permalink

October 31, 2006

Cyber jihad

Al Qaeda's "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America"  - from a recently translated document originally published on a jihaddist web site brought to you not by the mainstream media but from the Mudville Gazette, a blog by an American soldier.

Osama Bin Ladin, the document's author Najd al-Rawi says wants his fellow mujahadeen to pay more attention to the opportunities presented by the American media.  The author wants more videos, especially of attacks on US soldiers and more English translations of videos that can "throw fear into the American people's hearts."

Lastly, the paper points out what the author considers the best locations for providing this material, and suggests dissemination via the world wide web, following efforts to ensure the origin can't be traced.

Targets listed:

- US discussion forums
- US chat rooms
- Well known newspapers and magazines
- American TV channels with web sites
- Famous US authors with email addresses such as Friedman, Chomsky, Fukuyama, Huntington, and others
- Famous US web sites like MEMRI, or those of the Zionist lobby (AIPAC), or research institutes like Rand

CNN has already aired one video showing American soldiers being killed by snipers with film supplied by a terrorist organization.

Many of these snuff videos have been uploaded to YouTube where they are traded by Islamic jihaadists.  The New York Times published a piece in its travel section, Anti-US Attack Videos Spread on the Web, especially on YouTube.

At the same time, American videos that protest the Islamic violence or are anti-jihad have been banned, I presume because the jihaadists are quick to protest.    Michelle Malkin is leading an effort of many bloggers to protest the snuff films and other violent videos. Fighting jihad at YouTube

YouTube and the cyber jihad.

The war on terror is not just being fought on battlefields or within intelligence agencies. With the Internet, terrorists are able to attack us by cowing nervous Web site owners into submitting to their demands. When they can't scare Internet operators, they simply try to hack into a site and shut it down. As Mrs. Malkin rightly notes, in the case of YouTube, "instead of boycotting the site, we need to stay and fight." She has urged her readers to keep posting anti-Islamist videos to combat the terrorists' cyber-jihad.

    Civil-liberties advocates are constantly warning about the dangers of censorship enacted by the government. What they have just as constantly overlooked is the very real danger of censorship enacted by private businesses fearful of Islamist rage. The only way to fight this assault on our freedoms is by not giving in as YouTube has.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:01 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 23, 2006

Terrorist Propaganda as News

CNN is the network that refuses to air beheading videos or the Mohammed cartoons yet defends its showing of an American soldier being shot by terrorists in Iraq as the "unvarnished truth", no matter how disturbing it might be for millions of viewers and especially the soldier's family. 

For some reason, the airing of clips of snipers targeting American soldiers, killing at least one, is deemed "newsworthy" in a way beheading videos and the Mohammed cartoons are not.   

Now, this footage  was not filmed by CNN but came into its hands "unexpectedly through contact with an insurgent leader"  and is part of an insurgent group's propaganda video.

I would expect a news organization to be familiar with the many Al Qaeda documents seized in Afghanistan in 2001 and translated far too slowly into English, and only some of which have reached the mainstream press.

The New Yorker published The Master Plan of Al Qaeda in its Annals of Terrorism in September.  The Mudville Gazette posted  Al Qaeda's "Working Plan for a Media Invasion of America" in October.

Najd al-Rawi, the document's author, begins by noting that although they've been successful in many ways, the jihaddists haven't fully exploited the opportunities presented by the US media. .. He points out that videos from the "Shayks of jihad" are in great demand in the western media.

Such videos are readily available - but for the most part translation to English is left to the media outlets that elect to broadcast them. The plan suggests a remedy for this oversight, and the paper calls for talented professionals to join the jihad - specifically, translators, and people with journalistic or literary talent who can provide a "ringing and powerful style that will have impact on the American people."

So what we have is an American cable network airing terrorist propaganda showing the death of an American soldier as news. 

For shame.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:29 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 19, 2006

These Photos, Faked, Sparked the Intifada

You will recognize the photographs below.

  Mohammed   Al  Durah 1-1

  Mohammed   Al Durah 2

To really understand how fake photos of the dead are used as propaganda, you must read Camera Obscura by Richard Landes in The New Republic.  It documents how French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah and sparked the intifada in Israel and the beginning cycle of suicide bombers.

Or you can read the full report with links  on Landes's blog The Augean Stables.

In 2000, anyone told of Muslim plans to Islamicize the West laughed with scorn. It was the least of Western worries. Today, [22] some have already given up Europe for lost, others see it [23] in the balance, even as others [24] awaken with shock to the radical shift in the balance of forces. And every aspect of l’affaire Al Durah is emblematic of why: from the Palestinian forces that staged it… to the Western [25] mainstream media and [26] NGOs which presented it as news without asking hard questions, which believed any subsequent Palestinian claims of Israelis killing children, and resisted all efforts at correction… to the Muslim world that turned it into an icon of hatred and a call to genocidal holy war… to the “leftist” revolutionaries who jumped on the jihad bandwagon and via Durban, led the [27] “peace” movement of Spring 2003 into the lair of Jihad… to a public distressingly eager for “dirt” on Israel and unaware of the forces empowered by diffusing such poisons into the global information stream.

These [28] court trials, then–in which France2 seeks to bury any serious assessment of so critical and poisonous a tale–are also trials of France’s ability to defend her republican values against an Islamist onslaught that it seems ill-equipped to resist. It is Dreyfus redux: the path to modernity for the Army and Church lay in preferring honesty to honor; this time the challenge is to French Mainstream Media and French Muslims.

And, as France goes, so goes Europe. (Would France have it any other way?)

Three journalists have been charged under a French law designed to protect individuals from the mass media with libeling France2 producer Charles Enderlin and France2  simply for questioning the truth of the staged photos.

Richard Landes, a professor at Boston University, was called as a witness at two of the trials held this fall.   

Nidre Poller, an American married to a French man, reported from France on the trial.

"Not since the days of Alfred Dreyfus and Emile Zola has the French legal system been put to such a test on basic issues of racism and freedom of expression."

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 15, 2006

Photographer alleges unearthing of bodies

Photojournalist Brian Denton whose work has appeared in the New York Times, alleges that some wire photographers were directing the unearthing of bodies in graves in order to compose more powerful and compelling photographs in what he later called "not an isolated incident".

i have been working in lebanon since all this started, and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.

The link to the original Denton posting no longer works as the Lightstalkers forum has removed the page.  Charles Johnson has captured the original post and has many updates here.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:07 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 13, 2006

More fauxtography

More on what's come to be known as fauxtography and the gruesome use of dead bodies to seek personal or political advantage, a tactic beneath contempt professionally and morally. 

Photographer Alleges Unearthing of bodies  Brian Denton writes
--- i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.

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August 11, 2006

More on Waving the Dead Baby

A very young girl, either 3 or 5 depending on the news reports,  thought to have been killed by an Israeli military strike was taken to a hospital in Gaza.

Photographs of her grieving father carrying her to the hospital surrounded by armed guards wer sent around the world by the AP and Reuters.

At the hospital doctors, found no shrapnel and said the young girl apparently died after sustaining head injuries after a fall from a swing.

More death cult propaganda

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August 10, 2006

Waving the Dead Baby

'Waving the Bloody Shirt' was a tactic used by Republicans in the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War to gain political advantage by implying that southern Democrats were responsible for much of the bloodshed.  Wikipedia entry

The shirt was often that of a black man, freed by the Civil War, whipped to death by southern Democrats, with the bloody evidence being waved by Republicans to win black votes says Michael Gaynor.

Today's equivalent of the bloody shirt are staged photos of dead children and young men being used by Hezbollah to inflame anti-israeli sentiment.    Gerard van de Leun calls it The Weaponization of  Children.   Videos and photographs have become as potent as machine guns and bombs in the War against Terror.

  Dead Baby Qana-2

Who does not feel sick at seeing a photo of a dead baby.  But who parades the same dead body back and forth, sometimes raising the body high above his head. He's called "Green Helmet." The EU Referendum explores here and here., a rebuttal here, update here and here and here with a summary at Qana Director's Cut.

On YouTube, you can watch Green Helmet acting as a cynical movie director, ghoulishly positioning a dead body of a child over and over again for the cameras.

Sadly, many of the mainstream media haven have becoming victims or complicit in spreading such propaganda.  Emotion, they feel, is vital to telling the story.  Few asked whether the photos were genuine.    Reuters, the AP, the Washington Post, Time and U.S. News and World Report have all been implicated.

A blogger, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs first exposed the Reuters photo fraud,  scoring a direct hit according to the Washington Post and shining when the news media get it wrong in US Today.

Reuters was forced to retract 920 photos by freelance Lebanese, undoubtedly Hezbollah,  photographer Adnan Hajj.

Zombie has a taxonomy of Reuters' photo fraud
1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects and presenting the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.

So how are the mainstream media taken in? Laziness in most cases, in some parts, bias, in other cases, anti-Semitism.  I would also guess because the photos are so dramatic,  like the Pieta below.

  Nyt  Taylor  Hicks Photo-1

This beautifully posed photograph by Taylor Hicks of a young man supposedly killed by Israeli bombs, yet remarkably dust-free and still sweating with his hat tucked under his arm was published by the New York Times on July 27, 2006 until forced to make a correction.

Said the NYT
The man pictured, who had been seen in previous images appearing to assist with the rescue effort, was injured during that rescue effort, not during the initial attack, and was not killed.

Gateway Pundit  reports on Dead Man Walking

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