Following a nine-month investigation, Al Jazeera has reported that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned by radioactive polonium. However, we here at The Daily Dolt have our doubts.
Darcy Christen, spokesman for the Institut de Radiophysique told Reuters on Tuesday it had found “surprisingly” high levels of polonium-210 in Arafat’s belongings. Arafat’s widow had previously supplied some of Arafat’s personal effects to Al-Jazeera, which sent the items to the Institut in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Swiss scientists then analyzed the items — which included a toothbrush and urine-stained underwear — for various poisons, including polonium, and compared them to levels found in similar control items. (Control volunteer: “You want me to do what in these underwear?” Scientist: ”Just do it. It’s for science. It’s for Palestine!!” Control volunteer: “Okay, fine.” Scientist: “Hahahahahahahahhhahah, you just peed your pants!!!! Oh man, this is gonna be totally epic when I put it up on YouTube.“).
The Swiss scientists recently reported that Arafat’s toothbrush showed levels of 54 mBq and the urine stain on his underwear measured 180 mBq, whereas the control pair of pee-pee underwear was just 6.7 mBq. ”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.
Nonetheless, doubts remain:
1.) While Al-Jazeera points out that Arafat suffered from severe diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting prior to his death, just as famed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko did prior to succumbing to polonium poisoning in 2006, the Swiss scientists stressed that clinical symptoms described in Arafat’s medical reports were not consistent with polonium-210 and that conclusions could not be drawn as to whether the Palestinian leader was poisoned or not.
2.) The Jerusalem Post (which, okay, yeah, probably a little biased, but so is Al-Jazeera) postulates that the polonium levels found were far too high to have caused the poisoning. Polonium has a half-life of 138 days, meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months, whereas eight years after Arafat’s death, the Swiss scientists still found polonium levels as high as 180 millibecquerels on his belongings. Dr. Ely Karmon, an Israeli specialist in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, stated that this means the polonium is much more fresh than Arafat’s death in 2004. “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.
3.) Also, who kills people using radioactive polonium? Seriously, isn’t that kind of…impractical? Aren’t there easier methods available? If Arafat were assassinated using polonium, then the only two suspects capable of killing someone by such elaborate means would be Dr. Evil and Russia. But Dr. Evil would have delivered the polonium via sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads, whereas investigators have not produced any evidence that such a delivery system was used. Also, Dr. Evil is a fictional character. And this isn’t Russia. Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia. Tadah!! Three movie references in one paragraph. The Aristocrats. (Four!!)
4.) But most damning of all is the fact that Yasser Arafat clearly never used a toothbrush in his entire life. Ergo, the polonium was planted post-mortem. Boom, case closed.
Photo: flickr/World Economic ForumPOOL KEYSTONE/Alessandro Della Valle