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

[1]

Mus­lim Broth­er­hood spir­i­tu­al leader Youssef Al Qaradawi on Al Jazeera

[2]

A gag order, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood style

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

In pre­vi­ous posts [3], we have not­ed that Al Jazeera is run by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood [4].

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”:

“Report: Tests ‘Mod­er­ate­ly Sup­port’ that Yass­er Arafat Poi­soned by Polo­ni­um”; CNN; 11/7/2013. [6]

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. [9]

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. [7]

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. [8]

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. [5]

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. [10]

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. [12]

EXCERPT: . . . . Cast out by — or, per­haps, saved from— the harsh­est polit­i­cal crack­down [13] 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 [14], 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. . . .