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  1. #1
    euston has flown

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    Was Yasser Arafat killed by radioactive polonium-210?

    Was Yasser Arafat killed by radioactive polonium-210?
    Jacob Aron, NewScientist, 4th july 2012

    Analysis of Yasser Arafat's personal belongings has revealed high levels of the radioactive material polonium-210 on the deceased Palestinian leader's clothes, though symptoms detailed in his medical records are not consistent with radiation poisoning.

    Doctors who treated Arafat at a French military hospital before he died in 2004 said they could not establish the cause of death. Medical records obtained by the New York Times in 2005 suggest Arafat died of a stroke resulting from a bleeding disorder caused by an unknown infection.

    The link to polonium-210 has arisen as part of a nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera. The news organisation received Arafat's clothes and toothbrush from his widow, Suha Arafat. Al Jazeera then asked the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, to test them for a variety of poisons. "I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids," François Bochud, the director of the institute, told Al Jazeera.

    Polonium occurs naturally in the environment at low levels, says Patrick Regan, who studies radiation physics at the University of Surrey, UK. "If you've got radium on a luminous dial on a watch or any lumps of lead, part of that material is continually decaying to polonium-210." But according to the lab tests, the levels recorded on Arafat's effects are much higher, and are reported in millibecquerels (mBq), a measure of radioactivity.

    Arafat's toothbrush showed levels of 54 mBq, while a urine stain on his underwear measured 180 mBq – another pair of underwear used as a control was just 6.7 mBq. "If it is more than 10 times the background level, you can assume it is significant," says Roger Jewsbury, a chemist at the University of Huddersfield, UK. "It is quite possible that he was poisoned."

    However, Bochud is quoted by CNN as saying that Arafat's medical records don't necessarily support the polonium theory.

    One in a million

    The half-life of polonium-210 is 138 days, meaning the radioactivity of a sample drops by half during that period. Arafat died seven and a half years ago in November 2004. "That's something like 20 half-lives ago," says Regan. "Only one atom in a million of the original source would be left." But if his clothes have been contaminated by a natural source, it could have been continually replenished since then.

    "They have to establish that the polonium is not associated with a natural occurring radioactive source," says Regan – perhaps by looking for other accompanying natural sources, such as lead-210, lead-214 or bismuth-214. Suha Arafat has now called for her late husband's body to be exhumed for further tests, a move which the Palestinian Authority has agreed to in principle, report Reuters.

    If Arafat was indeed poisoned, he joins the likes of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Soviet spy whose death was linked to polonium-210 poisoning in 2006. At the time it was thought to be a state-backed operation as polonium is most likely to be sourced from a nuclear reactor. "The best reactors for doing that are called fast molten reactors," says Regan. "The Russians have a molten bismuth-cooled reactor that is used to make polonium-210 for industrial purposes."

    However, it is possible that a smaller group could have transported it around the world, says Jewsbury, as polonium does not emit the gamma radiation commonly looked for at ports. "It is rumour, but people say there were quite a lot of things for sale in pubs in Russia since the end of the communist regime. I suppose someone could get hold of it, but it is much more likely to have come from a country."

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    Hmmmm, certainly possible, but too long ago to be the COD. If the items are being 'replenished' by a local source, why is her widow not sick?

    Sounds more like a conspiracy theory.

  3. #3
    I am in Jail
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    Israeli Mossad MO, hardly a secret

  4. #4
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    "Urine stains on his underwear"

    he always had an unclean and odorous look about him, so its no surprise to learn he was a messy dribbler.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Israeli Mossad MO, hardly a secret
    Its just coming out now. The Mossad delivers

  6. #6
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    I think we need GiT and ENT here to solve this murder mystery.

    I'm sure they can identify the cause of death before his body is even exhumed.


  7. #7
    euston has flown

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    I am sure they will.

    what the real investigators will presumably do now is analyse the ratio of lead isotope's in the samples. over the last 8 years almost all of the polonium will have decayed into a single isotope of lead altering the lead isotope ratio in the samples. This will allow them to trace back to how much polonium was there at the beginning of the contamination, comparing that level of contamination to the current levels will indicate how long the sample has been contaminated for.

    As for the validity of the claim, the body or contaminated clothing will contain a mix of polonium, its daughter product lead and lead from the environment. By analysing the isotonic make up of the lead, the ratio's

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Israeli Mossad MO, hardly a secret
    Don't be such a fucking retard, the Israelis could have taken him out any time they liked, they kept him there because he was such a bumbling fucking idiot.

    If anyone did it, it would be the Russians.

  9. #9
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    ^
    Exactly.

    More likely to be his own people in some sort of heated internal hand wavy power struggle.

  10. #10
    ENT
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    I think we need GiT and ENT here to solve this murder mystery.

    I'm sure they can identify the cause of death before his body is even exhumed.

    You called?

    Since you and Hazz want an expert opinion, here it is.

    He died of death.

  11. #11
    euston has flown

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    I think to be logically and temporally correct you would have to say he died of life.

  12. #12
    ENT
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    I'll have to admit that you're right there, after all, life is a terminal dis-ease.

  13. #13
    euston has flown

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    gets everyone in the end.

  14. #14
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz
    you can assume it is significant," says Roger Jewsbury

    Can we really expect a non-biased report from someone called Jewsbury?


    The fokker prolly helped to inter dead concentration campers.

  15. #15
    ENT
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    ^ janner
    Anything with a hard 'u' in it (such as the f-word) is pronounced as an o (f*ck becomes 'fock' for example)

    Closely related to a swilly, a form of vermin occupying cheap accommodation in rundown third world type areas.

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