Friday, June 06, 2008

Organs for gang members, but not for citizens - that ain't chopped liver

At least four members of Japanese yakuza gangs have come to this country for liver transplants, including one who apparently received special clearance from the FBI to enter the country because of his extensive criminal history, and who then didn't live up to his end of the bargain:

"The most prominent transplant recipient, Tadamasa Goto, had been barred from entering the U.S. because of his criminal history, several current and former law enforcement officials said. Goto leads a gang called the Goto-gumi, which experts describe as vindictive and at times brutal.

The FBI helped Goto obtain a visa to enter the United States in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, said Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI's Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington.

Goto got his liver, Stern said, but provided the bureau with little useful information on Japanese gangs."

Of course he didn't. He's the head of a violent and brutal criminal gang. Being a snitch kind of defeats the whole exercise of trying to live longer, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, 186 people in the L.A. area died while waiting on the transplant list in 2001, the year that Mr. Goto received his liver, according to the article.

I don't fault the UCLA transplant team. Their job is to triage and save as many lives as they can, sickest first. The FBI, on the other hand, has got a lot of nerve pushing Mr. Goto onto the list, depriving a regular citizen of a chance for life, while trusting that Goto would somehow give up some of his cronies. Not a fair trade at all, in my view. In fact, it sounds like Goto wasn't even deathly ill when he got his operation:

"Goto, now 65, had hepatitis C and was worried it would develop into cancer"

Probably acquired from drugs, hookers, or one of the many tattoos that yakuza wear to identify themselves. Pardon me for not being particularly sympathetic to his plight.

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