9
   

It looks like Arafat was murdered by the Israelis after all. No surprise there.

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 11:39 am
Quote:
The Palestinian Authority has said it will exhume the remains of its late leader, Yasser Arafat, to investigate new claims that he was murdered with the radioactive isotope polonium-210, the same substance used to assassinate the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

The claim that Arafat – who died in Paris in 2004 – may have been poisoned first emerged in the immediate aftermath of his death and was revived earlier this week after a nine-month investigation by al-Jazeera, which was given access to Arafat's personal effects by his widow Suha.

"The Authority, as it always has been, is ready to completely co-operate with and clear the way for an investigation into the true causes leading to the martyrdom of the late president," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. He did not give a date for when this might occur.

Many Palestinians have long suspected that Arafat was murdered by Israeli agents.

Arafat's body is buried in a mausoleum at his compound where he was besieged and in effect confined by Israeli forces before his death.

The alleged detection of polonium on his toothbrush and on his clothes after an examination by the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, has deepened the mystery over the cause of Arafat's death, but appears to contradict the restricted medical report produced by French doctors after Arafat died at Percy hospital in Paris.

That report, leaked to the New York Times in 2005, concluded that Arafat had died after a stroke after suffering from the blood disorder disseminated intravascular coagulation or DIC.

That in turned appeared to have been caused by a mystery infection the cause of which the French doctors were unable to diagnose at the time.

The French report was originally kept secret by doctors citing concern for Arafat's privacy.

However, no trace of metals or drugs was found by blood toxicology tests performed at three different laboratories: the criminal division of physics and chemistry at the Institute of Criminal Research of the National Gendarmerie; the department of clinical biochemistry, toxicology and pharmacology at Percy; and the French army's radiotoxicology control laboratory.

While it is known that Israeli officials – including the former Israeli president Ariel Sharon's then deputy Ehud Olmert – had discussed "eliminating" Arafat "as a terror head", the emergence of Arafat's effects after so long is unlikely to prove how he died, something only an autopsy is likely to reveal.

"I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids," François Bochud, director of the Lausanne institute, said in the documentary.

Bochud said the only way to confirm the findings would be to exhume Arafat's body to test it for polonium-210.

"But we have to do it quite fast because polonium is decaying, so if we wait too long, for sure, any possible proof will disappear," he added.

Polonium has a short half life – 138 days. Although it exists as a trace element, the levels found on Arafat's clothes, including on a urine stain, were almost nine times that found by the laboratory on a control sample.

Although Arafat is often described as having died after a sudden illness, his health had been declining. Those who encountered him in the months before his death noted a tremor in the Palestinian leader's hands.

Equally puzzling is the change in attitude of Arafat's widow, Suha, who was engaged in a battle with other members of his medical team over Arafat's care in his last days.

It was reported that there was no full autopsy after Arafat's death because Suha had refused permission.

Now, however, al-Jazeera quotes her as saying that she did want further blood tests from the Percy hospital but when she requested access, the hospital told her the samples had been destroyed.

"I was not satisfied with that answer," she told the television station. "Usually a very important person, like Yasser, they would keep traces – maybe they don't want to be involved in it?"

She told al-Jazeera: "At least I've done something to explain to the Palestinian people, to the Arab and Muslim generation all over the world, that it was not a natural death, it was a crime."

Dr Hanan Ashrawi, a senior figure in the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, said on Wednesday: "We believed all along Yasser Arafat was assassinated and now we have evidence that polonium was used and we are willing to co-operate in any way necessary with investigations to get to the truth.

"We suspect the people who repeatedly called for his death, including Ariel Sharon and others in Israel. We suspect those people in the region with access to polonium and we suspect the people who attempted to blow up his headquarters. We have circumstantial evidence indicating Israel – now we need concrete criminal evidence."

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed the Palestinian accusations as "baseless", adding: "It was the Palestinians who made the conscious decision, for whatever reason, to keep Arafat's medical records closed to the public. Until those records are laid open, this is all pure conspiracy."

Polonium is a very rare natural element, which although it has been found in tobacco smoke produced in plants grown with phosphate fertilisers is extremely difficult to produce in significant quantities. Due to the sophisticated nature of the production process, it is made almost exclusively by national governments.

It does not emit gamma radiation, instead emitting alpha particles incapable of penetrating the human skin, so if Arafat was poisoned he would have had to ingest it.

There is very little scientific consensus about its effect on the human body. Clayton Swisher, the al-Jazeera reporter behind the investigation, points out that three of the six known deaths due to polonium exposure occurred in Israel in the 1960s.

"While I am not accusing them, Israel does possess polonium and has seen first-hand its effects," he said.

Swisher, who describes Arafat's death as a "great injustice", suggests his report may have produced the first tangible evidence that it was the result of "foul play".


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/04/palestinian-authority-exhume-arafat?INTCMP=SRCH

Thank **** For Al Jazeera.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 22,497 • Replies: 531

 
Ceili
 
  8  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 11:59 am
I would have waited until after the autopsy of his corpse before blaming the Israelis or deciding if this was actually poisoning or not.
But sure, you go ahead and count your chickens...
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 01:00 pm
@Ceili,
My response is very muted compared to the messages sent into Al Jazeera.

Most of them were convinced he was murdered, no doubt about it in there minds. The causes of his death were covered up from the word go, that's not in doubt.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 02:08 pm
@izzythepush,
Or he could have been an old guy in poor health. Conspiracy theories are ripe on the net.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 02:26 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

My response is very muted compared to the messages sent into Al Jazeera.

Most of them were convinced he was murdered, no doubt about it in there minds. The causes of his death were covered up from the word go, that's not in doubt.


Much of the so-called 'cover-up' of details surrounding Arafat's death came not from Israelis but from the PLO which simply refused to cooperate with Israeli authorities. At the time it was rumored that the demise might have been related to HIV/AIDS complications and that this was too embarrasing a truth for the PLO to admit, the implication being that Arafat might have had some homosexual encounters at one time or another.

I'm not claiming any of that as fact, mind, mereley ssaying that the PLO were most responsible for any so-called 'cover-up' in the investigation, rather than the Israelis.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 02:57 pm
I am not knowledgeable enough to register a firm opinion. I felt when he died it had the appearance of a murder. But I assert nothing.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 03:11 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
The PLO didn't have access to polonium.
Lustig Andrei
 
  5  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 03:31 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

The PLO didn't have access to polonium.


Sez who?

A terrorist organization has all kinds of access.
Ragman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 03:34 pm
@izzythepush,
Your report indicates the telltale stench of your bigoted bias or at the minimum a naive belief in al-Jazeera accuracy.

"The high levels of the radioactive poison polonium reportedly found on the belongings of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat indicate that the toxin was planted on them long after Arafat's death, a senior counter-terrorism analyst told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Dr. Ely Karmon, of the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's Institute for Counter-Terrorism, is a specialist in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism."

"Responding to an Al Jazeera report published Wednesday, which said that specialists at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, discovered abnormally high levels of polonium on Arafat's belongings, Karmon said that the half life of the substance would make it impossible for polonium to have been discovered at such high levels if it had been used to kill Arafat eight years ago.

According to the Al-Jazeera report, polonium has a half-life of 138 days, "meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months."

And yet, eight years after Arafat's death, the Swiss scientists reported finding polonium levels of 54mBq and 180mBq on his belonging, considered to be high levels.

"If it had been used to for poisoning, minimal levels should be seen now. Yet much higher levels were found. Someone planted the polonium much later," Karmon said.


"Because of the half life of the substance, the conclusion is that the polonium is much more fresh," he added.

Karmon added that the Al-Jazeera report raised additional unanswered questions. Referring to the fact that Arafat's widow, Suha, provided the researchers with Arafat's belongings, Karmon asked, "If Suha Arafat safeguarded these contaminated materials, why, after seven years, was she not poisoned too? She touched these things and Arafat in hospital," he added."
ossobuco
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 03:59 pm
I'm with Edgarblythe on this. I don't know enough.

I followed the last plutonium thing, with the fellow in London, Litvenenko (sp?), getting zapped by it, and it sounds suspicious, as we police procedural readers would say.

I couldn't guess the motive if indeed the Israeli guys had it done, seems dumb. Maybe efficiency. Don't know who else would do it, given the circumstances, if it was actually a poisoning, but I also don't know that much about who Arafat was in conflict with besides the obvious israeli people, and what opportunity they would have had, if so inclined, to get to him.

I don't automatically distrust Al Jazeera, but even though I have it on my list of newspaper links to check out, I rarely if ever do, so I haven't developed an opinion on its verity either. Toward the positive, but unsupported by my actually reading it.
Ragman
 
  4  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:04 pm
@ossobuco,
Apparently within the PLO at the time there was a blood feud for control of leadership of PLO. Arafat at the time of his death was under house arrest and his deteriorating health might have been due to natural causes or been 'helped' by his rivals within the PLO.

Autopsy at time of death could have eliminated the debate.

"In a press release on 4 July 2012, Suha Arafat, Arafat's widow, called for the exhumation of Arafat's body for further testing."

Exhuming him now might provide some answers. If his wife had objections due to religious reasons back in 2004 at TOD, why would she not object now?
Sturgis
 
  5  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:09 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush, your title for this thread speaks volumes; yet,you continue to claim you are not anti-Semitic. If you hadn't put in the last 3 words: 'No surprise there.' it might not have been as blatantly obvious.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:10 pm
@Ragman,
I don't know. Curiosity? Closure?
Ragman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:15 pm
@ossobuco,
Well, to my mind that curiosity would have been far more intense when he died than 18 years later when the evidence might be impossible to detect.

Why would her religious tenets about no autopsy would be put aside NOW? I smell ARRAT.

My understanding is that Moslem belief: "... however if their is a reason for the autopsy to be done (i.e. determine the cause of death in case of foul play) than it should be permissible."

Why did she not allow it back then? Surely she might have suspected that foul play might have happened back then considering the circumstances. Now the autopsy might be less than conclusive and poisoning or toxins could have dissipated.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:22 pm
@Ragman,
I just read a headline from the Jerusalem Post saying (paraphrasing) that the intensity of the plutonium indicates it was planted after his death.

Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:22 pm
@ossobuco,
I already posted that very information a few posts ago at 17:34 ET.
MontereyJack
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 04:32 pm
polonium, not plutonium
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 05:01 pm
@MontereyJack,
scrolling back...nope ...wasn't me. This brouhaha is whether or not there was poisoning with radionuclide polonium-210 .
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 05:09 pm
@MontereyJack,
Hah, caught me there. Doh.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2012 05:11 pm
@Ragman,
Ah, I see you did.
0 Replies
 
 

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