Monday, June 27, 2016

The Aftermath of "Soaked in Bleach" - Part II

by Frank E.

The Ben Statler helmed docu-drama Soaked in Bleach presents the events surrounding Kurt Cobain’s missing days before and after he was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The film relies heavily on information provided by Tom Grant, the California based Private Investigator who was hired by Cobain’s wife Courtney Love to locate her husband who had walked out of an LA drug rehabilitation facility days earlier. 
 
The case has turned many into amateur detectives with the film adding fuel to the murder theory. However, information presented in the film may not be as it seems. Along with the heavily debunked claim that Cobain was injected with a 3x lethal dose of heroin it’s apparent that some of the experts interviewed for Soaked in Bleach may not be happy with how their opinion was used to influence the murder narrative. 
 
Screenshot from "Soaked in Bleach"
Carole Chaski is a renowned forensic linguist and Executive Director of the Institute for Linguistic Evidence, a non-profit research organization devoted to research and development in linguistic evidence. She was asked to analyse Cobain’s suicide note. Viewers watched her describe the ‘linguistically interesting’ aspects of the final lines of the note and how they appeared to be from a ‘stereotypical suicide note’ in comparison to the rest of the note. What the creators of Soaked in Bleach failed to mention however was that Chaski agreed with the official suicide verdict. When asked her opinion on the film and her involvement in it she stated,
What I did say is that the note had typical variation of real suicide notes with the top half being one kind of suicide note and the bottom one being another  (more stereotypically-conceived) kind, both real suicide notes. My results do not support the conspiracy theory that Courtney Love authored the bottom portion to make it look like a suicide note”
 
Screenshot from "Soaked in Bleach"
Another expert interviewed for the film was Heidi Harralson, a Forensic Document Examiner. Her interview is played out while animation of letters from the practice sheet appear to be placed perfectly over the letters at the bottom of the suicide note. Harralson watched a small part of Soaked in Bleach and stated Because I haven't seen the entire film, I can't critically evaluate it other than to say that I think what I said was mischaracterized through editing and taken out of context”
 
Watching the film it is clear to see that neither experts are actually on film agreeing with the suicide verdict or the murder verdict but it is implied that they question the authenticity of the Cobain suicide note. The animation featured during the interviews appears to manipualte the viewers. Having these experts featured in the film does add validity to the claims of the film but not providing the viewers a full picture of the experts claims makes their decision making somewhat cloudy. One fears that Statlers intention is for viewers to watch the film without questioning the information provided. Unfortunately, when researched the claims made by Grant and Statler seem empty and without merit.

The Aftermath of "Soaked in Bleach" - Part I

by Silvia K.

"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual [...]" (Thomas Jefferson)

The docu-drama “Soaked in Bleach“ combines the recollections of private investigator Tom Grant (who was hired by Courtney Love to find her missing husband) with testimonies from experts in various fields including Forensic Document Examination and Pathology. The film has successfully managed to convince many viewers that Kurt Cobain did not commit suicide and was actually murdered in a conspiracy plot improvised by Courtney Love.

Via statements from the former Seattle Police Chief Norman Stamper and the American forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, the movie implies that the goal is to reopen the Cobain Case. The dramatizations and edited interviews appear to show that some of the other experts who were interviewed agreed with the homicide theory.

One example of these experts is Vernon J. Geberth, a retired Lieutenant-Commander of the New York City Police Department with over 40 years of law enforcement experience. He retired as the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force, which handled over 400 murder investigations a year. Vernon J. Geberth also taught his popular “Practical Homicide Investigation” course in the Seattle area for over 28 years and he has had many members of the Seattle Police Homicide unit in his classes over the years. Such an expert should have been given more testimony time in a documentary but instead only a few minutes were shown. In fact, Vernon J. Geberth was interviewed over two hours and was asked to review and respond to some 40 questions. Many questions concerned proper police procedure and basic death investigations. During this session the film producers asked him questions repeatedly in an attempt to show that he agreed that Kurt Cobain was murdered.

Screenshot from "Soaked in Bleach"
But Vernon J. Geberth never agreed to this conclusion. His opinion is that Kurt Cobain's death was a classic suicide. Before going to the “Soaked in Bleach“ interview he was given access to the Seattle Police Department’s homicide information and interviewed one of the investigators who was actually in service at the time of the Kurt Cobain incident. In the movie Mr. Geberth stated that in cases of “staged crime scenes” when you arrive “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. It must be a duck.“ He added that in the Kurt Cobain death case it was not like that and he concluded suicide. He points out as well that a Seattle Homicide detective who was working that day told him that the Detective Lieutenant instructed his detectives to handle the case like it was a homicide. They were very well aware of the publicity that would erupt for this high profile case and were concerned that there would be a media circus if they released everything at the time. But this resulted in feeding people believing in a homicide conspiracy plot.

But why was Mr. Geberth's information cut out, taken out of context and hidden from the viewers who were not able to see important evidence that led to the suicide conclusion? Is it possible that the film producers acted in the same way as other experts shown in the docudrama? But what is the motive for omitting information? Probably to fit the narrative that the producers wanted to follow; the Hollywood hype about celebrity deaths that always draws attention worldwide. And it doesn't matter if the celebrity's name is Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, Janis Joplin or John F. Kennedy, as long as it sells.