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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/10/12

The Mystery of Arafat's Death

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-In an interview five months after Arafat died, Kudri said: "If someone (of the Islamic faith) dies of unknown causes, it is mandatory to have an autopsy -- mandatory. ... I suspect Arafat died of a 'killing poison' ... The death was due to this."

-Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian intelligence officer mentioned above, who became a harsh critic of the Russian government is the first person known to have been deliberately killed by plutonium poisoning. Hospitalized in London in November 2006, he died three weeks later. Traces of polonium were found in his teacup.

-In a blog on Jan. 2, 2007, journalist Stephen Lendman (to whom I am indebted for some of the data on this wrap-up list) commented on a book titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait" by Uri Dan, a confidant of Ariel Sharon. Dan accused the former Israeli Prime Minister of poisoning Arafat, with the prior approval of President George W. Bush.

-Lendman also notes that 14 months before Arafat died, the Israeli security cabinet decided to "remove" the Palestinian leader, using deliberately vague language that could mean expulsion or killing.

Ehud Olmert (then Israeli vice prime minister under Sharon) went public telling Israeli radio after the cabinet decision: "The question is -- How are we going to do it (remove him, that is)? Expulsion is certainly one of the options, and killing is also one of the options." Other Israeli officials rang changes on this theme, but Olmert was the closest confidant of Sharon to state that Arafat might be killed.

-Dov Weisglass, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Sharon, insisted in a radio interview Thursday that "Israeli officials never considered killing Arafat."

-Israeli officials are making a major effort to belittle the Swiss findings. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has said, "Making up conspiracy theories based on pretend evidence is so ludicrous that it befits the comedy channel and not a news channel." (Jon Stewart take note.)

Israel's PR Counteroffensive

Like their official Israeli counterparts, Israeli and American pro-Israel commentators have been coming out of the woodwork to discredit the polonium story.

Hussein Ibish, one of the neocons' favorite Arab commentators, quickly placed an article in Foreign Policy in which he dismisses the "orgy of conspiratorial theorizing" as "utterly baseless."  In what may be the most unkindest cut of all, Ibish compares the Al Jazeera editors to Glenn Beck and his "conspiracy-minded talk show."

My personal favorite, though, is a Jerusalem Post article by Yaakov Lappin, titled "Polonium found on Arafat's clothing was planted," quoting at length a Dr. Ely Karmon.  According to Lappin, Karmon is "a specialist in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, working at Israel's Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya's Institute for Counterterrorism."

Dr. Karmon claims that the half-life of the polonium in question would make it impossible for it to have been discovered at such high levels if it had been used to kill Arafat eight years ago.

And Karmon should know: he holds a B.A. in English and French Culture from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a license in International Relations and a license in Bantu Languages from universities in Paris, and a PhD in political science from Haifa University. His bio on the Herzliya Web site says nothing about where Dr. Karmon acquired expertise related to chemistry, biology, radiology, or nuclear matters.

The Supremes to Bush to Sharon

Who is primarily responsible for Arafat's demise? Ultimately, you could say the same Supreme Court that gave the 2000 election to George W. Bush with his flair for sizing up people and his jaunty compassion-deficit disorder.

Experience showed President Bush to be an impressionable sort with a roulette penchant for putting great premium on initial impressions and latching onto people believed to be kindred souls -- be it Russian President Vladimir Putin (trust at first sight), or Ariel Sharon.

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
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