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A Lot of “Poloney”: Arafat Murdered according to (Ahem) Al Jazeera

Mus­lim Broth­er­hood spir­i­tu­al leader Youssef Al Qaradawi on Al Jazeera

A gag order, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood style

COMMENT: The War­ren Com­mis­sion would­n’t buy this one either–well maybe THEY would!

In pre­vi­ous posts, we have not­ed that Al Jazeera is run by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

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

“Report: Tests ‘Mod­er­ate­ly Sup­port’ that Yass­er Arafat Poi­soned by Polo­ni­um”; CNN; 11/7/2013.

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.” . . . .

“Swiss Report Sup­ports The­o­ry Arafat Was Poi­soned” by Isabel Ker­sh­n­er; The New York Times; 11/7/2013.

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. . . .

” ‘Absolute­ly No Way’ Arafat Was Poi­soned, Says Top Doc­tor Who Teach­es at Hos­pi­tal Where Pales­tin­ian Leader Died” by Anni­ca Pomer­ay; The Times of Israel; 11/13/2012.

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. . .

“Polo­ni­um Would be Hard­ly Detectable”; Deutsche Welle; 8/7/2012.

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.” . . . .

” ‘What Killed Arafat?’: Neshan­nock Grad Nom­i­nat­ed for Pres­ti­gious Award for Inves­ti­ga­tion of Late Pales­tin­ian Leader” by Kayleen Cub­bal; New Cas­tle News; 5/10/2013.

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. . . .

“French Experts ‘Rule out Yass­er Arafat Poi­son­ing The­ory’” [AFP]; The Tele­graph [UK]; 12/3/2013.

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. . . .

“Egyp­t’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Finds Havens Abroad” by Abi­gail Haus­lohn­er; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 11/5/2013.

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. . . .

Discussion

7 comments for “A Lot of “Poloney”: Arafat Murdered according to (Ahem) Al Jazeera”

  1. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the manip­u­la­tion seems to have reached its goal. It appears that the tar­get was­n’t so much the West­ern audi­ence which is more crit­i­cal, and West­ern media on the whole could­n’t go so far as to claim that the evi­dence of poi­son­ing is con­clu­sive — the tar­get was the “Arab street” and fuel­ing more hatred towards Israel. Pales­tini­ans are now con­vinced that the Israelis assas­si­nat­ed Arafat, reports say.

    Posted by de_lec | November 8, 2013, 8:30 am
  2. https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/520151-was-arafat-really-poisoned

    Was Arafat real­ly poi­soned?
    Nine years after Arafat’s pass­ing, ques­tions about his cause of death still remain
    Yass­er Arafat.

    Sus­pi­cions about the cause of Yass­er Arafat’s death are not new, but an Al Jazeera report pub­lished last week detail­ing the find­ings of a team of sci­en­tists brings new light to the sub­ject. Even though the report itself only “mod­er­ate­ly sup­ports” the hypoth­e­sis that Mr. Arafat was poi­soned by radioac­tive polo­ni­um 210, some foren­sic sci­en­tists, includ­ing David Bar­clay, have called it “a smok­ing gun.”

    Is this an accu­rate char­ac­ter­i­za­tion? Unfor­tu­nate­ly, no. I have no doubt based on what I read that there were some small amounts of polo­ni­um in the sam­ples, as the report indi­cates. How­ev­er, the world’s media have leapt to con­clu­sions based on this find­ing, even though there is ample ambi­gu­i­ty after the pas­sage of so much time.

    The thing with detailed reports such as this one is that some­times it can be rev­e­la­to­ry to see what was not explained in the report. Sev­er­al impor­tant con­cepts are left unex­plained and unad­dressed. Fore­most is the issue of half-life. All radioac­tive iso­topes decay into oth­er ele­ments, and the rate at which they do so is called a “half-life.” For polo­ni­um 210, its half-life is about 138.4 days. After one half life, half of the polo­ni­um has decayed, after two half lives, a quar­ter remains, and so on. Around 19 half-lives elapsed between his death and the exam­i­na­tion of his per­son­al effects, 21 half-lives with the skele­tal remains. This means that, if Mr. Arafat had been poi­soned with polo­ni­um 210, the per­cent­age of remain­ing mate­r­i­al would be very small, on the order of 0.00004% in the case of the bones.

    Anoth­er glar­ing issue with the report is that the units in use are not well explained. The casu­al read­er is not giv­en the con­text of how big a mil­liBec­quer­el (mBq) is. It’s extreme­ly small. Even a Bec­quer­el is a very small unit for mea­sur­ing radi­a­tion sources. (Mega- and even Giga­Bec­quer­el are not unusu­al for describ­ing radi­a­tion sources.) Often, these kinds of mBq lev­els are at the low­er detec­tion lim­it or with­in the error mar­gin of instru­ments, although this is not made clear in the report. Even the high­est fig­ures not­ed in the report, in the range of 900 mBq, are actu­al­ly very small by most stan­dards. It should be not­ed that much cov­er­age of the report fix­ates on the sin­gle 900 mBq fig­ure, which is the high­est, by far, of any of the fig­ures in the report.

    Polo­ni­um 210 is found in nature as well as occur­ring as the result of man­made activ­i­ty. Many of the mea­sure­ments of the per­son­al effects could eas­i­ly be with­in the realm of nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring back­ground lev­els. As it is a nat­ur­al decay prod­uct from ura­ni­um, which is ubiq­ui­tous in geol­o­gy around the world, you will find small amounts of polo­ni­um 210 near­ly every­where if you look hard enough. One inter­est­ing fact is that polo­ni­um 210 is com­mon­ly found in tobac­co, as tobac­co plants absorb ura­ni­um from the soil. One Brazil­ian study found that a sin­gle cig­a­rette could eas­i­ly have as much as 28.9 mBq of polo­ni­um 210, although the fig­ures vary wide­ly between brands. Soil con­tains polo­ni­um, which vary wide­ly around the world. As one exam­ple, in Nor­way, the top humus lay­er of soil can eas­i­ly con­tain up to 363 mBq/g, a fig­ure well in excess of many of the fig­ures in the report. Sad­ly, a sim­i­lar­ly detailed report on soil back­ground lev­el in Pales­tine is not avail­able, so I include this fact as mere­ly as one com­par­i­son. In addi­tion, the report shows Radon gas was quite high in the grave, and Polo­ni­um is an even­tu­al decay pro­duc­tion of the par­tic­u­lar iso­tope of Radon detect­ed.

    The Swiss report also makes ref­er­ence to the issue of “sup­port­ed” ver­sus “unsup­port­ed” polo­ni­um 210. The sci­ence is com­plex – as nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring polo­ni­um 210 comes from decay of Lead 210. If one mea­sures the Lead 210 in a par­tic­u­lar place and com­pares it to the amount of polo­ni­um, math­e­mat­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions can show if the pro­por­tion is cor­rect for the polo­ni­um hav­ing been caused by decay of the Lead. This is “sup­port­ed” polo­ni­um, and it is much more like­ly to have come from nat­ur­al sources rather than nefar­i­ous ones. The report clear­ly states on page 58 that the polo­ni­um in the human remains was like­ly to be “sup­port­ed.” In my mind this casts some seri­ous doubt on the poi­son­ing hypoth­e­sis.

    Anoth­er huge deficit in the evi­dence is the chain of cus­tody. This con­cern is actu­al­ly voiced in the report itself. The evi­dence has been out of the con­trol of those exam­in­ing it for years. There’s no assur­ance that the per­son­al effects or the human remains were not tam­pered with in some way between 2004 and 2012. I’m not say­ing that they were; it is just that it can­not be ruled out. Like­wise, it could be pos­si­ble that Mr. Arafat’s grave could have been tam­pered with at some point in the inter­ven­ing years.

    The Swiss report fair­ly states many of these issues if you read it close­ly enough. But it is by no means a “smok­ing gun.” Could Mr. Arafat have been poi­soned by polo­ni­um? Cer­tain­ly. Is it pos­si­ble that the evi­dence could have been tam­pered with? Yes. Is it pos­si­ble that much of the polo­ni­um detect­ed is from nat­ur­al sources? Yes. But the pas­sage of time and an erod­ed chain of cus­tody mean that foren­sic sci­ence done in 2012 faces seri­ous lim­i­ta­tions, and we may nev­er be in a posi­tion to know for sure.

    Dan Kasze­ta is a for­mer US Army and US Secret Ser­vice spe­cial­ist on chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, and radi­o­log­i­cal defense, now work­ing as an inde­pen­dent con­sul­tant based in Lon­don.

    Posted by Vanfield | November 12, 2013, 12:38 pm
  3. Lets say our boy Yass­er was real­ly killed by polo­ni­um.

    In fact, lets say that he was killed by a whole lot of the stuff.

    For this exer­cise, lets imag­ine that 1,000 lbs. of stuff just fell out of the sky, and hit poor Mr Arafat. Maybe an Israeli bomber dropped it.

    Then lets say, they buried the man, and the 1,000 lbs of polo­ni­um togeth­er. Maybe after the tragedy, they had trou­ble sep­a­rat­ing the remains from the polo­ni­um.

    Then, after more than 8 years, they opened the grave to look for the polo­ni­um.

    In the mean time, the polo­ni­um, which has a half life of only 138.4 days, would have gone through 21+ half life cycles, and as a result, after 21 cycles, the 1,000 lbs of polo­ni­um, is now only .0004768 of a lb of polo­ni­um.

    Yes, that’s less than 5 ten thou­sandth of a pound of polo­ni­um.

    Don’t believe me? Check my math, its easy. Divide 1,000 by 2, 21 times.

    Pre­sum­ably, if he was killed by polo­ni­um, it was sub­stan­tial­ly less than 1,000 lbs. If that is the case, there would not be a detectable lev­el of polo­ni­um, above back­ground lev­els.

    It shows that there are no Pales­tin­ian win­ners of the Nobel Prize for physics.

    Posted by Vanfield | November 12, 2013, 12:59 pm
  4. http://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/frederick-forsyth/443145/So-exactly-how-did-Yasser-Arafat-get-so-rich

    So exact­ly how did Yass­er Arafat get so rich?
    THE usu­al sus­pects are mak­ing a fuss since it was dis­cov­ered after an exhuma­tion that Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist leader Yass­er Arafat might have been poi­soned with polo­ni­um and the fin­ger might be point­ed at Israel.
    By: Fred­er­ick Forsyth
    Pub­lished: Fri, Novem­ber 15, 2013

    I have seen acres of breast-beat­ing jour­nal­ism about the Pales­tin­ian mis­ery but nev­er an exam­i­na­tion into where all the donat­ed mon­ey has gone over the years. For this is cer­tain: Arab donors and a gen­er­ous non-Arab world have donat­ed many bil­lions to the Pales­tin­ian cause.

    Take the Gaza strip. It is a bloc of land 25 miles long and six miles wide on the east­ern shore of the Mediter­ranean.

    Its north­ern and east­ern bor­ders are Israel, its 11-mile south­ern bor­der is Egypt and its west­ern bor­der the glit­ter­ing Med. Over the years since the found­ing of Israel in 1948 lit­er­al­ly bil­lions of pounds have been donat­ed to help its peo­ple have a decent life.

    If it had been invest­ed shrewd­ly and well Gaza today could be a mini-Mona­co. It could have a deep­wa­ter freight port, a flour­ish­ing fish­ing port and a leisure har­bour crammed with the yachts of wealthy vis­i­tors. It could have resort hotels on the sea and farms, ranch­es and orchards in the hin­ter­land pro­duc­ing nutri­tious food.

    It has noth­ing of these. It is a failed state of pover­ty, mis­ery and vio­lence. So what hap­pened to all that mon­ey? Well, a lot went on guns, explo­sives for bombs and mate­r­i­al to build rock­ets to launch at Israel. But the bulk has cer­tain­ly suf­fered the fate of most wealth in that neck of the woods. It has sim­ply been embez­zled, not by Israelis but by Pales­tini­ans and above all by their lead­er­ship cadres.

    Yass­er Arafat was the vir­tu­al­ly unchal­lenged Pales­tin­ian leader for many years. He nev­er had a vis­i­ble salary above his mod­est earn­ings from the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment in his West Bank fief­dom.

    Yet in his dotage he was strong­ly rumoured to be worth many hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds. His wife Suha lived in lux­u­ry in a five-star Paris hotel. As the Amer­i­cans say: go fig­ure.

    It is per­fect­ly fea­si­ble that after lead­ing his peo­ple to fail­ure and pover­ty even his col­leagues had had enough and slipped him a tox­ic cock­tail.

    The dona­tions con­tin­ue to flow in… and dis­ap­pear.

    Posted by Vanfield | November 21, 2013, 10:30 am
  5. Worth not­ing...

    French experts ‘rule out Yass­er Arafat poi­son­ing the­o­ry’
    Sci­en­tists’ report into 2004 death of Pales­tin­ian leader ‘goes in the sense of a nat­ur­al death’, accord­ing to leak

    By AFP

    6:08PM GMT 03 Dec 2013

    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.

    The Swiss team said the test results nei­ther con­firmed nor denied polo­ni­um was the actu­al source of his death, although they pro­vid­ed “mod­er­ate” back­ing for the idea he was poi­soned by the rare and high­ly radioac­tive ele­ment.

    They said the quan­ti­ty of the dead­ly sub­stance found on his remains point­ed to the involve­ment of a third par­ty.

    Rus­si­a’s Fed­er­al Med­ical-Bio­log­i­cal Agency (FMBA) has yet to release its find­ings.

    A report by news agency Inter­fax in Octo­ber quot­ed its chief Vladimir Uiba as say­ing Arafat “could not have been poi­soned by polo­ni­um” but the med­ical agency lat­er denied he had made any state­ment.

    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.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 3, 2013, 11:45 am
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    Note that Arafat’s wid­ow declined to have an autop­sy done when Yass­er died.

    Then, she gives the gym bag with the sup­posed “evi­dence” of mur­der to Al Jazeer­a’s Swish­er.

    Small won­der that her lawyer declined com­ment on the AFP report!

    Nice.

    BTW–this con­tri­bu­tion has been added to the orig­i­nal post.

    Keep Up the Great Work,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | December 3, 2013, 6:10 pm
  7. Frankly, the most con­clu­sive opin­ion was from Arafat’s per­son­al doc­tor, who said he died of AIDS.

    See...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y89pfwDRAV0

    Posted by Vanfield | December 3, 2013, 10:48 pm

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