Yasser Arafat 'may have been poisoned with polonium'

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Ray, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Yasser Arafat 'may have been poisoned with polonium'

    The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with radioactive polonium, says a Swiss forensic report obtained by al-Jazeera.

    Arafat's official medical records say he died in 2004 from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.

    But his body was exhumed last year amid continuing claims he was murdered.

    The Swiss report said tests on the body showed "unexpected high activity" of polonium, which "moderately" supported the poisoning theory.

    Many Palestinians and others have long believed that Israel poisoned Arafat. Others allege that he had Aids or cancer. Israel has consistently denied any involvement.

    A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said the Swiss investigation was "more soap opera than science".

    'Hole in theory'

    The scientists - from the Vaudois University Hospital Centre (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland - carried out a detailed examination of Arafat's medical records, samples taken from his remains and items he had taken into the hospital in Paris where he died in 2004.

    The biological materials included pieces of Mr Arafat's bones and soil samples from around his corpse.

    The scientists concluded that their results "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210".

    The scientists stressed that they had been unable to reach a more definitive conclusion because of the time that had lapsed since Arafat's death, the limited samples available and the confused "chain of custody" of some of the specimens.

    Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance. It is found naturally in low doses in food and in the body, but can be fatal if ingested in high doses.

    The scientists have made "a pretty strong statement", according to Prof Paddy Regan, an expert in radiation detection and measurement at the University of Surrey in the UK, who was not involved in the investigation.

    "They are saying the hypothesis that Arafat was poisoned with polonium-210 is valid and has not been disproven by the data. However they cannot say definitively that he was murdered."

    Prof Regan says a series of assumptions would have been made in order to ascertain how much Po-210 may or may not have been in Mr Arafat's body at the time of his death.


    Yasser Arafat's widow, Suha: "I felt shock and anger and huge sadness" - Video courtesy al-Jazeera
    Po-210 has a short half-life of about 138 days.

    Prof Regan said measuring the tiny fraction left and extrapolating it back to the time of Arafat's death was like a blind man holding the tail of an elephant and using the information to work out the size of the animal.

    The second problem, he said, was that Po-210 occurs naturally in the environment. However, an indicator that the polonium may be synthetic is if there was far less Pb-210 (lead-210) in the samples.

    The professor highlighted results from two samples - the shroud under the corpse of Mr Arafat and urine samples taken from his underwear - both showed high levels of Po-210 compared to Pb-210, possibly suggesting the presence of "additional" synthetic polonium.

    He noted however that most of the samples of polonium measured in the report were accompanied by activities from Pb-210.

    Parallel investigations are being carried out by French and Russian experts - one Russian official said last month that no traces of polonium had been found.

    Yigal Palmor of Israel's foreign ministry told the BBC: "This is more soap opera than science."

    Arafat's tomb in Ramallah was opened in private in November last year
    He said the investigations had been commissioned by "interested parties" - Mr Arafat's widow and the Palestinian Authority - and had "never bothered" to look for some key data.

    "The other huge hole in the theory is the absence of all access to the French hospital where Arafat died and to Arafat's medical files," said Mr Palmor.

    "How can the cause of death be determined without the opinion of the doctors or the results of the medical tests they ran on the patient?

    "Israel doesn't feel concerned in the least."

    'Real crime'

    Speaking in Paris, Arafat's widow, Suha, said the Swiss results revealed "a real crime, a political assassination".

    "This has confirmed all our doubts. It is scientifically proved that he didn't die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed."

    Reuters said she did not name any suspects and acknowledged that her husband had had many enemies in his lifetime.

    Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organisation for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, fell violently ill in October 2004 at his compound.

    Two weeks later he was flown to a French military hospital in Paris, where he died on 11 November 2004, aged 75.

    France began a murder inquiry in August 2012 after the Lausanne scientists, working with an al-Jazeera documentary crew, found traces of polonium-210 on Arafat's personal effects.

    His widow had objected to a post-mortem at the time of his death, but asked the Palestinian Authority to permit the exhumation "to reveal the truth".

    His remains were removed from his tomb in the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2012 and reinterred the same day.

    Last month, the head of the Russian Federal Medico-Biological Agency, Vladimir Uiba, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Arafat "could not have been poisoned with polonium", saying that test carried out by Russian experts "found no traces of this substance".

    However, the agency later denied that Mr Uiba had made any official statement on the findings.

    The head of the Palestinian investigation team, Tawfiq Tirawi, confirmed on Tuesday that the Russian and Swiss reports had been delivered. The Palestinian team is reported to have handed over its findings on Saturday.

    BBC News - Yasser Arafat 'may have been poisoned with polonium'

    ***************************************************************

    Was he poisoned or was he not?
     
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  3. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    What difference does it make ? He was anyway a terrorist responsible for death of scores of innocents !
     
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  4. Ash

    Ash Regular Member

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    His tooth brush, when tested also showed abnormal Polonium levels. If he was poisoned, i wonder whether the poison was ingested via poisoned tooth paste or tooth brush
     
  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    From his appearance, he could not have brushed his teeth very often if at all. In fact, I would like to see further evidence he owned a toothbrush.
     
  6. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    that was awesome Sir !
     
  7. Ash

    Ash Regular Member

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    Tu Che Sir:lol:
     
  8. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    You meant to say touché right ? ;)
     
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  9. Ash

    Ash Regular Member

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    Most definately
     
  10. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    He was poisoned by aliens, just ask those 'ancient aliens' guys. He looked like one anyway.
     
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  11. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    Russian experts rule out radiation poisoning in Arafat death

    Moscow (AFP) - Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, not radiation poisoning, Russian scientists who examined his remains said on Thursday, but their findings were dismissed by Swiss experts as politically motivated.

    The conclusions into the Palestinian leader's 2004 death dovetail with the findings of French investigators but differ from those of Swiss radiation experts who maintain he could have been poisoned.

    "We have completed all the studies," Vladimir Uiba, head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), told reporters.

    "The person died a natural death and not from radiation."

    The Palestinians have long suspected that Arafat was poisoned, with some pointing the finger directly at Israel.

    Uiba said that his agency had not received any requests from the Palestinians to conduct a repeat examination.

    "We've completed an expert evaluation, and everyone agreed with us. Moreover, even the Swiss withdrew their statements and agreed, and the French confirmed our conclusions," Uiba told reporters in comments confirmed by his spokesman.

    The director of the Lausanne Radiophysics Institute who examined the samples of Arafat's remains, immediately took issue with Uiba's statement, saying the position of the Swiss experts had remained the same.

    "Our point of view has not changed, that's for sure," said Francois Bochud, criticising the Russian experts for not releasing their report.

    "The Russians, they make claims without providing any data, without providing any scientific arguments, for me that is empty, a political declaration."

    Bochud said the Swiss had not received a copy of the Russian study, and that Palestinian officials who had seen it said the results were similar to the Swiss data.

    "But to claim the opposite with same data seems to be really fallacious," he said.

    Bochud co-authored a report released in November that found high levels of polonium, up to 20 times the normal level, were found in samples taken from Arafat's body. The report said the findings were consistent with radioactive poisoning without saying conclusively Arafat's death was due to the polonium.

    Alexander Vlasov, the spokesman for the Federal Medical-Biological Agency, told AFP the Russian experts had been tasked by the foreign ministry to carry out the investigation for the Palestinian authorities.

    He said it was up to the Palestinians to publish the report.

    The Palestinian ambassador to Russia said the Palestinian authorities would press on with the probe.

    "I can only say that there is already a decision to continue (the investigation)," Faed Mustafa told the state RIA Novosti news agency.

    "We respect their position, we highly value their work but there is a decision to continue work," he said. "We need a result, a final and concrete result to take the issue off the table."

    Mustafa was not available for further comment on Thursday.

    A decision to ask the UN General Assembly to establish an international commission to investigate the circumstances of Arafat's death was taken at an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Saturday.

    'Russia has no stakes in this game'

    Arafat died in France on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request.

    His remains were exhumed in November 2012, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned with radioactive polonium, a suspicion that grew after the substance was used to assassinate Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

    Some 60 samples were taken and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators as well as a French team carrying out the probe at the request of Arafat's widow, Suha. The French have also ruled out radioactive poisoning.

    Suha Arafat has told AFP that she was "completely convinced that the martyr Arafat did not die a natural death."

    Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Kremlin-friendly Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, said he saw no reason for the Russian experts to distort the results of their findings.

    "At the time of his death Arafat was no longer a figure defining Palestine-Israeli relations. Russia has no stakes whatsoever in this game."
     
  12. Deccani

    Deccani Tihar Jail Banned

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    Death of Arafat would be played for International politics which would just benefit those nations only who are playing it.
     
  13. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    why is that so ? Is it not possible that, his own people killed him to climb up the ladder in hierarchy ?
     
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  14. Deccani

    Deccani Tihar Jail Banned

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    He was in house arrest in his Ramallah compound surrounded by tanks and during that period this health started to spoil , it was like he was dieing slowly unlike Rabin who was just assasinated .
     

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