Monday, January 19, 2009

The Swiss Way Part II: The Entrepreneurs of Death Making

Dignitas, the Swiss assisted suicide killing machine responsible for hundreds of deaths, is being investigated for profiteering from killing.

Nah. Couldn’t possibly be, right?

After all, this is all about helping people “die with dignity” isn’t it?

I didn't know "dignity" was this expensive.

Seems to me there's nothing too dignified about making money killing. But then again, there are many stories that how they help people die isn’t that dignified either.

Anyway, the Telegraph has reported that until now, Dignitas’ fiscal transparency has been MIA.

We’re obviousy not going to get answers from the families of people who died under Dignitas macabre watch.

There are clues, however. In Part I last week, I commented that the Daily Mail reported that Maxine Coombes scrimped and saved $15,000 to complete the dastardly deed.

Now, I don’t have the details, but 15K is an awful amount of money to hop from the UK to Switzerland, especially if you have a one-way air ticket.

Another clue: The Telegraph reported that one woman paid about $88,000 “10 times its usual fee.”

So we can surmise that the “usual fee” is about $8,800.

For what? The lethal drugs cost pennies. The venues, apparently, aren’t exactly five-star (backseats of cars, dingy, graffiti-covered apartments). I’ll bet the shifty characters carrying out the deed aren’t been paid as highly trained medical or scientific professionals either.

From the Telegraph:

Juerg Vollenweider, state prosecutor in Zurich, said: "We still don't even know what Dignitas does with the 10,000 Francs it is paid (£6,000) or what it is for. If we are kept from taking a look into their accounting, we could see that as selfish motives."

 "But if Dignitas can also be shown to have selfish motives, it could be in a lot of trouble," a legal source said.

According to the Swiss newspaper Blick, the head of Dignitas, Ludwig Minelli, has so far failed to hand over the books, claiming he needs to transfer them from old computer software.

And, by golly, they certainly seem like they’re cutting as many corners as they can.

Read on:

Swiss officials have also investigated allegations that the remains of dead patients were being dumped in lakes after being cremated. Two Dignitas workers were allegedly caught trying to pour the ashes of 20 bodies into Lake Zurich, but a former employee claimed at least 200 people's mortal remains had ended up in the same body of water.

Making money from killing people?

Not exactly new. Fill in the blank.

As I mentioned last week, don’t let’s hope that this will bring about the closing of Dignitas.

Instead, we’ll have calls for “regulation” “accountability,” and transparency.”

That is, calls to ensure death-making is more efficient.

What we won’t have (or at least not very strongly) are calls for ending this madness.

Too much to hope for, I fear.

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