What a load of Polonium

Good try by Al-Jazeera – with their breathless attempt to smear Israel with Polonium poisoning of Arafat.

But this dog won’t bark (except maybe Fairfax will bite)

Ynet’s take on it here focuses on Al Jazeera

“However, over the past two years the network has had trouble accepting reality, whereby the Arab world is engaged in what truly threatens it: Poverty, unemployment, short life expectancy, the lowly quality of education for the next generation and the feeling of helplessness.

Hence, al-Jazeera started to artificially promote reports on the Palestinian issue in order to bring it back to the agenda. For example, it attempted to turn the issue of Palestinian prisoners into a provocative affair, by promoting a different detainee every time, yet to no avail.

The Arab world’s attention is no longer directed at the imagined reality promoted by al-Jazeera, that is, against Israel, but rather, at the truly burning issues. Therefore, the network decided to embark on a major campaign to change this.

The channel announced that for months its people have been working on an investigative report about Yasser Arafat’s death; this week, their sensational headlines revealed: Al-Jazeera discovered a radioactive substance, polonium, in Arafat’s clothing.

Al-Jazeera officials smiled with satisfaction: They shall be shaking up the Middle East and restoring the old agenda. They did not blame Israel explicitly, but noted that only a state with a nuclear reactor can provide such a substance.

The result was embarrassing. News stories about Syria prompt hundreds of talkbacks on al-Jazeera’s website yet Arafat, despite the huge headlines, only elicited dozens of cool reactions. His widow received 10 responses, some of them insulting. Ahmed from Canada wrote: “Assad is burning Syria and slaughtering its people, and al-Jazeera prepares an investigative report about the death of Arafat 10 years ago? Please cover the distress of Syria’s citizens 24 hours a day.”

“I’m a Kurd from Kurdistan and I think that a Palestinian hand murdered Arafat,” another commentator wrote. “Is all of this done out of love for Arafat, or in order to topple someone else?” yet another reader wrote, hinting that al-Jazeera is planning to topple Mahmoud Abbas who isn’t popular with network officials.

Even the responses to Suha Arafat were disparaging and venomous. One reader wrote: “Before demanding to exhume Arafat’s body, return the donation money you took.” Ouch. That’s not quite what al-Jazeera expected.”

As stated in the Jerusalem Post

“The high levels of the radioactive poison polonium reportedly found on the belongings of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat indicate that the toxin was planted on them long after his death, a senior counterterrorism analyst told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Dr. Ely Karmon, of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya’s Institute for Counterterrorism, is a specialist in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.

Responding to an Al Jazeera report published Wednesday – which said that researchers at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, discovered abnormally high levels of polonium on Arafat’s belongings – Karmon said that the half-life of the substance would make it impossible for polonium to have been discovered at such high levels if it had been used to kill Arafat eight years ago.

According to the Al Jazeera report, polonium has a half-life of 138 days, “meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months.”  And yet, eight years after Arafat’s death, the Swiss scientists reported finding polonium levels of 54 millibecquerels (mBq) and 180 millibecquerels on his belonging, considered to be high levels.  “If it had been used for poisoning, minimal levels should be seen now. Yet much higher levels were found. Someone planted the polonium much later,” Karmon said.

“Because of the half-life of the substance, the conclusion is that the polonium is much more fresh,” he added.  Karmon added that the Al Jazeera report raised additional unanswered questions. Referring to the fact that Arafat’s widow, Suha, provided the researchers with Arafat’s belongings, Karmon asked: “If Suha Arafat safeguarded these contaminated materials, why, after seven years, was she not poisoned too? She touched these things and Arafat in hospital.”


If Polonium doesn’t work what about spam

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