COMMENT: The Warren Commission wouldn’t buy this one either–well maybe THEY would!
The media are all a-flutter about a report that PLO leader Yasser Arafat was murdered by polonium. A number of considertions in connection with this “investigation”:
- The report is an Al Jazeeera project from start to finish.
- The project was launched and executed by Clayton Swisher, head of Al Jazeera’s so-called investigative journalism division.
- Swisher is a former bodyguard of Arafat’s.
- Swisher has a background in State Department Security (translation: “Spook”).
- He was given the items on which the polonium was found by Arafat’s widow in 2011, seven years after Arafat’s death.
- Polonium 210 has a half-life of 138 days! Experts quoted below do not believe that any measurable trace would be left after this much time. If measurable traces of polonium 210 were found after this much time, the amount in Arafat’s body would have to have been enormous!
- The symptoms of polonium poisoning are readily detectable and not consistent with Arafat’s condition.
- Poisoning and radiation poisoning in particular were ruled out at the time of Arafat’s passing.
- The chain of handling of the evidence given to Swisher by Arafat’s widow is unclear.
- The question of why so much time was allowed to elapse before conducting the investigation suggests itself.
- A Russian team found no evidence of polonium, although they have now backtracked on their report.
- Evidence of Al Jazeera’s close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood mounts, with the network paying for the residence of Brotherhood exiles staying in Qatar, the home of the network.
- What we are witnessing with the uncritical acceptance of a media outlet effectively controlled by an overtly fascist organization is a manifestation of the Serpent’s Walk scenario that we have discussed so often.
- One wonders if this gambit is intended to derail Israeli/Palestinian peace talks.
- In an update, a French forensic team has arrived at the conclusion that Arafat was NOT murdered. It is interesting to note that Arafat’s widow saw to it that there was no autopsy at the time of death. Then, she gives the hospital bag and clothing to Swisher of Al Jazeera. Nice.
- In another update, Arafat’s personal physician stated that Arafat died of AIDS. Check out this YouTube segment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y89pfwDRAV0
EXCERPT: . . . . The Swiss center pointed out some caveats:
— The testing was based on “very small specimens.” The center noted that blood, urine and other specimens were destroyed after Arafat’s hospitalization.
— Eight years passed between the death and the exhumation. Because polonium-210 has a half-life of just 138 days, its detection after eight years is “very difficult and subject to uncertainties.”
— The “chain of custody” of Arafat’s personal effects — from the time he died and when the center began to study them in 2012 — is unclear, it said.
Paddy Regan, a professor of radionuclide metrology in the physics department at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, agreed that the years that have elapsed since Arafat’s death make it more difficult to estimate how much isotope was there originally.
“It’s like a blindfolded man holding the tail of an elephant and using that to estimate the weight of the elephant,” Regan told CNN in a telephone interview. “You can do it, but there is a huge amount of extrapolation involved.”
And the mere presence of the isotope — in amounts significantly higher than what occurs naturally — does not necessarily mean that that is what killed Arafat, he added, citing the scientists’ measurement of a urine stain on Arafat’s underwear. “If you were being cynical about such a thing, if you wanted to put a false trail out there, you could put a tiny amount of polonium 210 on that urine stain,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that the urine stain came from inside him.” . . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Yet last month the head of the Russian team told the Interfax news agency that Russian experts had found no traces of polonium in Mr. Arafat’s remains. Soon after, the Russians denied having made any statement. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . A leading French doctor who teaches at the Paris hospital where Yasser Arafat died in 2004 has broken the official French medical silence surrounding the case to tell The Times of Israel, based on Arafat’s medical report, that there is “absolutely no way” the Palestinian leader was poisoned.
Dr. Roland Masse, a member of the prestigious Académie de Médecine who currently teaches radiopathology at Percy Military Training Hospital in the Paris suburb of Clamart, where Arafat was hospitalized two weeks before his death on November 11 eight years ago, spoke to The Times of Israel to scotch the allegations of polonium poisoning two weeks before a group of scientists are set to take samples for testing from Arafat’s body.
Masse said the symptoms of polonium poisoning would have been “impossible to miss,” noted that Percy had tested Arafat for radiation poisoning, and revealed that the hospital specializes in the related field of radiation detection. “A lethal level of polonium simply cannot go unnoticed,” he said, speaking as workers in Ramallah on Tuesday began the process of preparing Arafat’s grave for exhumation.
Dr. Thierry Revel, the head of the Hematology Department at Percy who signed the medical report on November 14, 2004, has refused to comment on the case. Indeed, medical confidentiality laws prevent doctors in France from divulging any information on their current or past patients. It was Arafat’s family that chose to make public the late Palestinian leader’s medical report; Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news outlet, said in July that it had received the report from Arafat’s widow Suha.
In a telephone interview with The Times of Israel, Masse said flatly that “there is absolutely no way the symptoms described in Yasser Arafat’s medical report match those of poisoning by polonium.”
Masse elaborated: “When in contact with high levels of polonium, the body suffers from acute radiation which translates into a state of anemia and a severe decrease in white blood cells. And yet Arafat did not present any of those symptoms. What did decrease was his platelets, not his white blood cells,” said Masse, who may have been prepared to discuss the case because he does not treat patients at Percy, only teaching there. (He said the medical team at Percy would have had no need to consult with him, given their high level of expertise.)
Noting that radiation detection happens to be one of the areas in which Percy military hospital excels, Masse said that while Arafat’s medical report contains no specific reference to a test for polonium, it does specify that a number of tests were conducted to check if the patient had been subjected to radioactive substances.
Polonium-210, which Yasser Arafat’s widow Suha believes may have caused her husband’s death, is a rare chemical that became more familiar to the public a few years ago when it was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy, in London in 2006.
If “abnormal levels of radioactive polonium” were found on Arafat’s clothing by scientists in Switzerland in July, eight years after his death, Masse said, the Palestinian leader would have had to be in contact with an extremely high level of the chemical before his death. This would have been impossible to miss for any doctor at the time, Masse said, not to mention dangerous for other people surrounding Arafat. “Remember the Litvinenko case,” Masse continued. “We discovered after his death that hundreds of people had been subjected to various levels of contamination, in the UK and other countries.”
Masse was in charge of “national radioactivity supervision” in France in the 1990s — as head of the Office de Protection des Rayonnements Ionisants (OPRI — the Bureau for Protection against Ionizing Radiation), which worked under the authority of the French Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour to protect French citizens and the environment from the effects of ionizing radiation. In the job, he said, he received daily alerts about the presence of far lower levels of radioactive elements than would have been necessary to kill a man; these alerts came from waste collection sites, for example, and from people who had recently undergone medical treatments involving the application of radioactive substances. . .
EXCERPT: . . . . [Prof. Dr. Thomas Fanghänel is director of the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) in Karlsruhe, Germany, a joint research center with the European Commission. Among others things, the ITU carries out nuclear forensic testing.] “I assume that it would be very difficult to prove poisoning after eight years,” he said. “Around 20 half-life periods would have passed since then. After 20 half-life periods, only a few millionths of the original material will still be present.”… “The question is this: Is the amount detected significantly higher than that which is naturally present in the environment? Due to the half-life period and the period of time which has since elapsed, I’m assuming it would be extremely difficult to prove with any certainty that this is the polonium-210 which came into contact with the clothing ten years ago.” . . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . The 36-year-old Neshannock High graduate, the manager of investigative journalism for Al Jazeera Media Network, led a group that released a film, “What Killed Afafat?” (Al Jazeera Investigates), which is nominated for an award for best Current Affairs documentary at Sunday’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts at Royal Festival Hall in London. The BAFTAs are the equivalent of the Emmy Awards in the United States. . . .
. . . . While at Pitt, Swisher served in the Marine Corps Reserves with a Military Police Company in North Versailles, and following his graduation, spent three years as a special agent with the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
It was there that he came to meet Arafat, while serving as a bodyguard to him on four occasions in 2000 during attempts by the United States to negotiate a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first time was during Arafat’s June visit to the United States; the second was later that month during then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s visit with Arafat to Ramallah, in the Occupied West Bank, to plan the July Camp David Summit; next was during the Camp David Summit, attended by then-President Clinton, Albright, Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak; and, later that year, the final chance arose during an emergency meeting at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to France with Albright and then-CIA director George Tenet. . . .
. . . . In 2007, Swisher joined Al Jazeera. . . .
. . . . In late 2011, Swisher, who lives in Doha, Qatar, headquarters of the Al Jazeera Media Network, initiated a cold-case investigation into Arafat’s death. He traveled to Malta and obtained his entire medical files from Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat.
Suha later provided Swisher with a gym bag that contained her husband’s last personal belongings, which were in his possession at a French military hospital where he died on Nov. 11, 2004. Swisher took all the items Suha had given him to Europe’s leading forensic laboratory, the University Centre for Legal Medicine in Lausanne, Switzerland. . . .
EXCERPT: French experts have ruled out a theory that Yasser Arafat was killed by poisoning, a source close to the investigation into the Palestinian leader’s 2004 death told AFP.
“The report rules out the poisoning theory and goes in the sense of a natural death,” the source said.
The French experts’ findings differ significantly from those of Swiss scientists, who said last month that their research offered some support for the suggestion Arafat was killed by polonium poisoning.
Rumours and speculation have surrounded Arafat’s death since a quick deterioration of his health saw his passing at a military hospital near Paris in November 2004 at the age of 75.
French doctors were unable to say what killed him and an autopsy was never performed, at the request of his widow.
Many Palestinians believed he was poisoned by Israel — a claim repeatedly denied by the Jewish state.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP the results of the French probe were “no surprise”.
France opened a formal murder inquiry into his death in August 2012, a month after an Al-Jazeera documentary linked his death to polonium poisoning.
Some 60 samples were taken from Arafat’s remains in November 2012 and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at his widow’s request.
Both the prosecutors’ office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, which is conducting the French probe, and a lawyer for Arafat’s widow Suha refused to comment on the investigation’s findings Tuesday. . . .
. . . . Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Mhanna last month urged France to release the results of its probe, saying the Palestinians were sure Arafat had been poisoned and that Israel was the “only suspect” in his death.
Israeli President Shimon Peres, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said last month that the reports of polonium poisoning were unbelievable.
“If someone had wanted to get rid of Arafat, it would have been easier to do it with a bullet,” he said.
The Swiss team’s findings sparked fresh accusations from the Palestinians and increased tensions with Israel at a delicate time.
US-brokered peace talks resumed at the end of July after a three-year gap, but have already hit a deadlock over Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank on land the Palestinians want for their future state. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Cast out by — or, perhaps, saved from— the harshest political crackdown in recent Egyptian history, a handful of Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist leaders found refuge here in the Qatari capital, while others traveled to Istanbul, London and Geneva.
The exiles’ community is small, disorganized and ideologically diverse, ranging from relatively moderate Islamist politicians to hard-line Salafists — groups that less than two years ago competed against each other in Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential elections.
Now, as they push back against the July coup that toppled their country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, they are on the same team.
At the same time, an exile leadership is starting to take shape here among the shimmering high-rises of Doha. Several of the exiles live temporarily in hotel suites paid for by Qatar’s state-run Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera — and it is in those suites and hotel lobbies that the future of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and, more broadly, the strategy and ideology of political Islam in the country may well be charted. . . .