Archive for June, 2014

Mass graves filled with remains of immigrants discovered in Texas

Mass graves filled with remains of immigrants discovered in Texas

Anthropologists uncovered a series of mass graves filled with the human remains of immigrants stuffed into shopping and garbage bags in a county-owned section of a cemetery in South Texas. Now, a local politician is calling for an inquiry.

The group of anthropology researchers is made of professors and students from the University of Indianapolis and Baylor University, who are working on the Reuniting Families project. The multi-year project seeks to identify the bodies of the hundreds of undocumented immigrants who died (usually from exposure in the 100-degree-plus heat) while crossing the Texas-Mexico border over the last few years. They resumed work two weeks ago, exhuming 52 plots in a Brooks County-owned section of the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias.

In those plots, they found the remains of multiple people instead of just one.

In one burial plot, bones of three bodies were inside one body bag. In another instance, there were at least five people in body bags and smaller plastic bags were piled on top of each other, Baylor University anthropologist Lori Baker said to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Skulls were found in biohazard bags — like the red plastic bags in receptacles at doctors’ offices — placed between coffins.

“To me it’s just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head, and it’s just as disrespectful,” Krista Latham, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis, said to theCaller-Times.

Due to the commingling of remains, the researchers are unable to determine the total number of people buried in the 52 plots.

County Judge Raul Ramirez told the Caller-Times that, for at least 16 years, Brooks County paid the local funeral home, Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams, to bury the bodies after they were discovered in the remote areas of the county’s brush country.

The funeral home currently charges $450 to handle each body, Brooks County Chief Deputy Benny Martinez said.

The funeral home has “certain records related to these burials, but this does not amount to confirmation that Howard-Williams was involved in depositing the remains in the manner the researchers described,”Houston-based Service Corporation International (the parent company of Howard-Williams since 1999) spokeswoman Jennifer McDunn told the Corpus newspaper in an e-mail.

“Because of the sensitive nature of our business, it is not our general practice to share our records publicly, no matter the decedent or the family we serve,” McDunn said.

After the discovery became known, Democratic state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa called for the district’s attorney general to open a criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers, the Caller-Times reported. “This is too serious of a wrongdoing,” he said.

“It is horrible, and any human being deserves a burial of respect and dignity,” Hinojosa went on. “I’m appalled at the number of bodies just left in body bags and, in many instances, more than one body in one bag. That’s not right. We need to get to the bottom of the situation.”

Various Texas laws and regulations require records be kept for burials, set minimum burial depths, require certain containers and prohibit mass burials in some instances, according to the Caller-Times.

“When I see that more than likely this was done by a funeral home, well, they’re supposed to be aware of the regulations and what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to do it,” 79th Judicial District Attorney Carlos Omar Garcia said to the Corpus paper.

Chief Deputy County Clerk Elva Ray Silvas said the county courthouse held no records of burials except for an assessment of grave markers performed by a volunteer group in 2000.

 

Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK T

Revealed: Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK T

Slaves forced to work for no pay for years at a time under threat of extreme violence are being used in Asia in the production of seafoodsold by major US, British and other European retailers, the Guardian can reveal.

A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco andTesco.

The investigation found that the world’s largest prawn farmer, the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves.

Men who have managed to escape from boats supplying CP Foods and other companies like it told the Guardian of horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture and execution-style killings. Some were at sea for years; some were regularly offered methamphetamines to keep them going. Some had seen fellow slaves murdered in front of them.

Fifteen migrant workers from Burma and Cambodia also told how they had been enslaved. They said they had paid brokers to help them find work in Thailand in factories or on building sites. But they had been sold instead to boat captains, sometimes for as little as £250.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Vuthy, a former monk from Cambodia who was sold from captain to captain. “They kept me chained up, they didn’t care about me or give me any food … They sold us like animals, but we are not animals – we are human beings.”

Another trafficking victim said he had seen as many as 20 fellow slaves killed in front of him, one of whom was tied, limb by limb, to the bows of four boats and pulled apart at sea.

“We’d get beaten even if we worked hard,” said another. “All the Burmese, [even] on all the other boats, were trafficked. There were so many of us [slaves] it would be impossible to count them all.”

CP Foods – a company with an annual turnover of $33bn (£20bn) that brands itself as “the kitchen of the world” – sells its own-brand prawn feed to other farms, and supplies international supermarkets, as well as food manufacturers and food retailers, with frozen or cooked prawns and ready-made meals. It also sells raw prawn materials for food distributors.

In addition to Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco, the Guardian has identified AldiMorrisons, the Co-operative and Iceland as customers of CP Foods. They all sell frozen or cooked prawns, or ready meals such as prawn stir fry, supplied by CP Foods and its subsidiaries. CP Foods admits that slave labour is part of its supply chain.

“We’re not here to defend what is going on,” said Bob Miller, CP Foods’ UK managing director. “We know there’s issues with regard to the [raw] material that comes in [to port], but to what extent that is, we just don’t have visibility.”

The supply chain works in this way: Slave ships plying international waters off Thailand scoop up huge quantities of “trash fish”, infant or inedible fish. The Guardian traced this fish on landing to factories where it is ground down into fishmeal for onward sale to CP Foods. The company uses this fishmeal to feed its farmed prawns, which it then ships to international customers.

The alarm over slavery in the Thai fishing industry has been sounded before by non-governmental organisations and in UN reports.

But now, for the first time, the Guardian has established how the pieces of the long, complex supply chains connect slavery to leading producers and retailers.

“If you buy prawns or shrimp from Thailand, you will be buying the produce of slave labour,” said Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International.

 

 

To read the full article click the link…

What Happens If You Boil Coke

The Truthseeker: US plans ‘first strike’ on Russia

Star Wars tested for Eastern Europe; US space weapons “unofficial declaration of war”; “soft assassinations” planned for last weekend’s EU election winners.

Seek truth from facts with Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe author and former European MP Richard Cottrell; Stop NATO newslist’s Rick Rozoff; and Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.