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Bridget Johnson

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November 6, 2013 - 9:20 am

Allies of late PLO leader Yasser Arafat are claiming to have proof that he was poisoned with polonium. The Al Jazeera press release:

Studies obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera reveal Swiss scientists have discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than normal in the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his remains.

They say their data is compatible with the theory that the Palestinian leader was poisoned with the radioactive element at a level up to 84 per cent.

David Barclay, a leading forensic pathologist now says it is almost certain the former Palestinian leader was poisoned in November 2004.

“If I was a judge and jury, this is absolutely stone cold certain.  This is beyond any doubt in my opinion that it was polonium that caused the death of Yasser Arafat.”

Reacting to the findings of the Swiss investigation, Suha Arafat, the widow of the late Palestinian leader said: “When they came with the results, I’m mourning Yasser again.  It’s like you just told me he died. I will not stop.  Me and my daughter will go to all courts in all over the world to punish who did this crime.”

Al Jazeera obtained the 108-page report prepared by Swiss scientists who participated in the exhumation of Arafat’s body last November. The investigation was triggered by an earlier Al Jazeera investigation in July 2012.

Al Jazeera will broadcast a documentary detailing the findings of the investigation at 1900 GMT.

“What Killed Arafat” was an investigation by Al Jazeera in July 2012 which revealed Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.

Those personal effects, which were analysed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

The findings led Suha Arafat, his widow, to ask the Palestinian Authority to exhume her late husband’s body from its grave in Ramallah in November 2012.

The channel plans to air the documentary the day before the anniversary of Arafat’s death. Here’s the link to the full report.

The official cause of Arafat’s death is cerebral hemorrhage.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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