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Experts question Russian Arafat findings – Killing Arafat – Al Jazeera English

Experts question Russian Arafat findings – Killing Arafat – Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained the 15-page conclusion of a study by Russian scientists into the death of Yasser Arafat.

While a Swiss report found significant levels of polonium in Arafat’s pelvis and ribs, the Russian investigation team says its results are inconclusive.

The conclusion ultimately treats the cause of death by high dosage of polonium penetration as “unsubstantiated”.

The Russian exhumation team received 20 samples from Arafat’s body, as did the Swiss and French teams. But the scientists in Moscow appear to have only been given four samples to test, two from the skull bone and two from “extremity bones”.

Russian forensic report on Arafat’s death

 

‘Odd choice’

Dr. Francois Bochud, who led the Swiss investigation,told Al Jazeera’s David Poort that the skull was an unlikely place to test for the radioactive substance.

“We thought that [the skull] would not be the best kind of bone sample to measure,” he said. “It is not as vascularised as other bones and therefore not the bone that would collect the highest quantity of polonium.”

Dave Barclay, a veteran forensic scientist and investigator, told Al Jazeera, “the choice of bone fragments that they’ve chosen to use is very odd and the levels they’ve got appear to be 10 or 20 times less than you’d expect just from anyone else in the world.”

“I think the results are meaningless,” he said.

‘An inferior study’

The Russian exhumation report concludes that “only one of the four provided fragments”, a piece of the skull bone, “was found to have radioactive background”.

In addition to being given an incomplete selection of bone samples, the scientists appear to also have been restricted by the Russian Foreign Ministry in how to present the report.

“The laboratory personnel say they received clear instructions from the Foreign Ministry on how the final report should look like,” the source who leaked the report told Al Jazeera.

“It seemed suspicious to them that they were being asked to fill out a specific table and answer specific questions from the Foreign Ministry. Namely, to conduct an inferior study.”

The source added that, “Russia’s goal was to fulfill the Palestinian Authority’s request, not offend Israel by helping the PA, and not create a new hotbed in the Middle East”.

“Therefore, the objective here was to make a conclusion without a conclusion,” he said.

 

Israel suspect in assassination

Palestinian investigators have said they are confident that former leader Yasser Arafat died of poisoning, citing Swiss and Russian reports.

Speaking at a news conference in Ramallah on Friday, members of the Palestinian Investigatory Committee on Arafat’s death accepted the Swiss findings.

“We say that Israel is the one and only suspect in the case of Yasser Arafat’s assassination, and we will continue to carry out a thorough investigation to find out and confirm all the details and all elements of the case,” Tawfiq Tirawi, head of the Palestinian Authority’s inquiry into the death, said.

“This is the crime of the 21st century,” Tirawi told a news conference in Ramallah.

“The fundamental (goal) is to find out who is behind the liquidation of Yasser Arafat.”

Israel once again firmly denied killing Arafat.

“I will state this as simply and clearly as I can: Israel did not kill Arafat. Period. And that’s all there is to it,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP news agency.

Arafat’s body was exhumed in November last year, eight years after he died in a French military hospital, after Al Jazeera worked with Swiss scientists and found high levels of polonium in Arafat’s blood and urine, which stained his clothes.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the investigation and also called for an independent investigation by Russia.

 

Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat Was Assasinated With Radioactove Polonium, Tests Show | Zero Hedge

Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat Was Assasinated With Radioactove Polonium, Tests Show | Zero Hedge. (source)

And so another conspiracy theory, that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with Polonium, becomes non-conspiracy fact. From Reuters:

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow Suha said on Wednesday after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband’s corpse.

“We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination,” she told Reuters in Paris.

A team of experts, including from Lausanne University Hospital’s Institute of Radiation Physics, opened Arafat’s grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November, and took samples from his body to seek evidence of alleged poisoning. “This has confirmed all our doubts,” said Suha Arafat, who met members of the Swiss forensic team in Geneva on Tuesday. “It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed.”

She did not accuse any country or person, and acknowledged that the historic leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization had many enemies. Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel and led a subsequent uprising after the failure of talks in 2000 on a comprehensive agreement.

Allegations of foul play surfaced immediately. Arafat had foes among his own people, but many Palestinians pointed the finger at Israel, which had besieged him in his Ramallah headquarters for the final two and a half years of his life.

The Israeli government has denied any role in his death, noting that he was 75 years old and had an unhealthy lifestyle.

An investigation by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television news channel first reported last year that traces of polonium-210 were found on personal effects of Arafat given to his widow by the French military hospital where he died.

That led French prosecutors to open an investigation for suspected murder in August 2012 at the request of Suha Arafat. Forensic experts from Switzerland, Russia and France all took samples from his corpse for testing after the Palestinian Authority agreed to open his mausoleum.

“SMOKING GUN”

The head of the Russian forensics institute, Vladimir Uiba, was quoted by the Interfax news agency last month as saying no trace of polonium had been found on the body specimens examined in Moscow, but his Federal Medico-Biological Agency later denied he had made any official comment on its findings.

The French pathologists have not reported their conclusions publicly, nor have their findings been shared with Suha Arafat’s legal team. A spokeswoman for the French prosecutor’s office said the investigating magistrats had received no expert reports so far.

One of her lawyers said the Swiss institute’s report, commissioned by Al Jazeera, would be translated from English into French and handed over to the three magistrates in the Paris suburb of Nanterre who are investigating the case.

The Al Jazeera investigation was spearheaded by investigative journalist Clayton Swisher, a former U.S. Secret Service bodyguard who became friendly with Arafat and was suspicious of the manner of his death.

Hani al-Hassan, a former aide, said in 2003 that he had witnessed 13 assassination attempts on Arafat’s life, dating back to his years on the run as PLO leader. Arafat claimed to have survived 40 attempts on his life.

Now… whoever may have wanted the leader of the Palestinians dead?

He escaped another attempt on his life when Israeli warplanes came close to killing him during the invasion of Beirut when they hit one of the buildings they suspected he was using as his headquarters but he was not there. In December 2001, Arafat was rushed to safety just before Israeli helicopters bombarded his compound in Ramallah with rockets.

Oh wait…

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