5861Fw: [BPAC] Fw: [NukeNet] Arafat was poisoned with radioactive polonium, Swiss radiation experts say
- Oct 16, 2013
From: Daisy Anders
Sent: Oct 15, 2013 8:54 PM
Subject: [BPAC] Fw: [NukeNet] Arafat was poisoned with radioactive polonium, Swiss radiation experts say
On Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:15 PM, Roger Herried wrote:
Arafat was poisoned with radioactive polonium, Swiss radiation experts say
Kounteya Sinha, TNNOct 14, 2013, 08.00PM IST --- The Times of India
* Yasser Arafat|
* Swiss toxicologists and radiation experts|
* Palestinian Authority
(Swiss toxicologists and…)
LONDON: Nine years after the mysterious death of Yasser Arafat, Swiss toxicologists and radiation experts have revealed that they have found traces of polonium on the Palestinian leader's clothes. This almost confirms that the Palestinian leader was poisoned to death in 2004 while in France.
The case report of the findings, published in the British medical journal Lancet is available with The Times of India.
Polonium as little as a speck of pepper is lethal for the human body. The radioactive substance can enter humans orally through food or drink or through inhaling. Radiation poisoning from polonium looks like the end stage of cancer leading to death in just days.
To investigate whether Arafat who led the Palestine Liberation Organization for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996 died of polonium ingestion, the scientists focused their radio-toxicological analyzes on visible body fluid stains from specific belongings - underwear, toothbrush, hospital cap and sportswear.
A thorough analysis was carried out on 75 different samples, 38 of them taken from Arafat's belongings.
The case report says "The remaining 37 samples were references, which were not artificially contaminated with 210 Po (polonium). These included cotton items that had been kept for 10 years and protected from dust and products of radon decay in an attic".
The report then said about the findings "Several samples containing body fluid stains (blood and urine) contained higher unexplained 210Po activities than the reference samples. These findings support the possibility of Arafat's poisoning with 210Po. According to biokinetic modelling, the measured activities of 210Po of samples are compatible with a lethal ingestion in 2004. Moreover, his clinical presentation could not rule out 210Po poisoning".
Arafat died in Percy Hospital, France on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75. Doctors were unable to specify the cause of death as no autopsy was carried out in line with his widow's request. Arafat's medical records said he had a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.
Radio analysis was undertaken by the Institute of Radiation Physics and medical analyses by the University Centre of Legal Medicine team. Professor Gerard Waeber from the department of internal medicine, Lausanne University Hospital investigated the medical records of Arafat.
The scientists who published their findings on October 12 said at the time of publication, the remains of Yasser Arafat have been exhumed and are being investigated for cause of death.
He presented with a medical history that began in Ramallah on Oct 12, 2004, with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. Shortly after, his general health deteriorated with continuing gastrointestinal symptoms, thrombocytopenia, apyrexia, but the absence of inflammation.
According to the case report available with TOI, "On Oct 29, he was admitted to Percy Hospital. He had diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and generalized abdominal pain with mild liver and kidney failure that was associated with disseminated intravascular coagulation syndrome. His condition worsened, with acute renal failure, aggravation of a cholestatic jaundice and neurological coma. He was transferred to the intensive care unit, where he died of a cerebral haemorrhage. Despite numerous toxicological and clinical investigations, the cause of his illness remained unknown".
"There was no evidence of infectious, vascular, or cancerous disease and the treatment had been symptomatic only. Poisoning was considered but never confirmed by toxicological analyses. After the death of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, 210Polonium poisoning was considered as a possible cause of Arafat's death. Although the absence of myelosuppression and hair loss does not favour acute radiation syndrome, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, and anorexia, followed by hepatic and renal failures, might suggest radioactive poisoning".
The report added that from a medico-legal perspective, this hypothesis is justified given the absence of a characterised cause of illness and the absence of toxicological evidence, including radiations, as well as the dearth of scientific literature in this topic.
The Swiss scientists said "In February, 2012, Arafat's widow made his medical records and his late belongings available to us. DNA analysis confirmed that the belongings were Arafat's. Toxicological elemental analyses done on his hair were unremarkable. Further investigations on several belongings did not reveal any known poison".
The scientists said that in radionuclide therapy, side-effects include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain, with hair loss being less common. Toxicity can occur in bone marrow and, to a lesser extent, kidneys and liver.
"In Arafat's case, low marrow cellularity associated with ageing and non-bone-seeking biodistribution of 210Po might have attenuated myelosuppression. Since ingested 210Po is eliminated primarily through faeces, the gastrointestinal syndrome, associated with multiple organ failure, could be a predominant cause of death. The fact that around 20 half-lives had elapsed was clearly a challenge for measurement of 210Po".
At present, three scientific teams are currently analysing body, shrine, and earth samples. Because of legal procedures, the date of publication of the detailed results of the exhumation analyses is unknown. An autopsy would have been useful in this case because although potential polonium poisoning might not have been identified during that procedure, body samples could have been kept and tested afterwards.
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