"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

International cannibalism continues ....

A gang of four armed thieves broke into a private Istanbul hospital, 2 weeks ago, ostensibly looking for cash - it ended up with a shootout with the police - it then transpired that the four attackers were disgruntled customers wanting their money back.

Subsequently it transpired that one of the people in the hospital, clad in green surgical gown and kitted up for surgery was Prof. Zaki Shapira, 71,(see pic of him in Police van) for years one of Israel's leading transplant surgeons at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

Shapira allegedly retired 5 years ago because it was suspected that he was involved with organ trafficking. He was, paradoxically , a member of the Bellagio Task Force on global transplant ethics but has reportedly been operating as a transplant outlaw since the early 1990s when he first used local Arab brokers to locate willing kidney sellers among strapped Palestinian workers in the Gaza and the West Bank. Shapira's hand was slapped by an ethics review board (the Cotev Commission) in the mid 1990s. So Shapira simply moved his illicit practice overseas - to Turkey and to countries in Eastern Europe where the collapse of the CSU and resulting economic chaos of the past decade has created parallel markets in the trafficking of bodies for sex and for kidneys.

When arrested , the Turkish courts ordered Shapira held without bail, although he is appealing on the grounds that he took no active role in the surgery and didn't know the hospital was unlicensed.

Three others people discovered, were 2 Israeli Arabs suspected of selling organs and one who bought a kidney from them and underwent transplant surgery and had been accompanied by Shapira on his trip to Turkey. Further investigation by the police discovered that the hospital / clinic had been ordered to close down by a court order more than a month earlier due to illegal organ transplants that had been performed there. The hospital had apparently received numerous similar warnings in the past, and was unlicensed - there were also 4 more patients who were said to be waiting in the hospital for transplants at the time of the incident. The current tariff is said to be in the region of US$180,000.

The sale of human organs for transplanting is illegal in Israel , but it is not yet illegal according to Israeli law when carried out abroad, though it does violate international law. Paradoxically before the illegal invasion of Iraq , family mebers of affluent Palestinians from the West Bank would travel to Baghdad, Iraq, where several medical centers catered to transplant tourists from elsewhere in the Arab world. The kidney sellers, in Iraq were mostly young men, foreign workers from Jordan and poor Iraqis who are housed in a special wing of hospitals in dorms that were called kidney motels. It is difficult to believe that this trade has entirely disappeared.

The Israeli Transplantation Society said it is working to prevent organ sales through a bill that has been tabled in the Knesset, with the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee.

The society has been making representations to the Health Ministry to find a solution to the severe shortage of transplant organs in Israel and wants citizens to sign donor cards.

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