Sunday, July 08, 2012

Arafat's Death: Polonium Conspiracy Vs. Polonium Fact

We have never said there was Polonium poisoning. Yes, we found Polonium 210 in more elevated levels than what one might have expected, but the clinical description of Chairman Arafat's symptoms prior to his death is not compatible with Polonium poisoning.
Darcy Christen, spokesman for the Swiss laboratory that examined Arafat's personal effects at the request of Suha Arafat and Al Jazeera

In Those Stupid Arafat Conspiracy Theories, Omri Ceren writes about the blatant contradictions between the latest conspiracy theories about the death of Arafat and the facts about Polonium.

Ceren compares the alleged Polonium poisoning of Arafat with the apparent assassination of Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium in 2006Since back in 2004 at the time of Arafat's death the doctors did not diagnose him with the radiation poisoning--and massive radiation was not evident--if there was any Polonium ingested by Arafat, it would have had to be less.

Just do the math:
Let’s peg the amount at 5,000 ng, which is 100 times more than the fatal dose but still half of what Litvinenko ingested. As you’re about to see, the math works out in such a way that the actual amount doesn’t matter as long as it’s kept reasonable.

After having planned and launched Intifada II and been militarily defeated, Arafat died in November 2004. The Swiss lab had his clothing for a few months. so let’s round down to 7 years as the interval between his death and the tests. That’s 2556 days (one leap year) divided by a half-life of 138 equals about 18.5 iterations. Put everything together – 5000 ng/(2^18.5) – and the result is about 0.0135 ng of Po 210 that should have been detectable on Arafat’s possessions today. That’s 0.0000135 micrograms. Four zeros of padding.

If we double the dosage to what Litvinenko ingested, the amount left over today would double to 0.0000270 micrograms. Double the dosage again – so now it would be twice as much as received by Litvinenko, who was visibly poisoned and who leaked radiation across half of London – and the amount today should be 0.0000540 micrograms. There’s just no way to get a reasonable amount of Polonium left over because the denominator, representing halving every 138 days for 7 years, overwhelms everything else.
The response of the conspiracy theorists is to work backwards (no surprise there). They insist, regardless of the inconvenient facts of Polonium's decay, that whatever amount it would have taken to kill Arafat must have been the original amount.

That dodge, however, does not work. Ceren writes that blogger Elder of Ziyon notes that the amount of Polonium the conspiracy theorists claim was ingested by Arafat is contradicted by the fact that Arafat died slowly with no obvious signs of radiation poisoning.

Bottom line: Based on the decay rate of Polonium, there should be less trace now than what is being claimed--and if Polonium of the strength being claimed is what killed Arafat, he would have died before reaching France, and his wife should have been effected as well.

Another contradiction is the claim by Al Jazeera that little is known about the symptoms of Polonium--a claim debunked by the Swiss laboratory spokesman Darcy Christen, quoted above.

In the end, the Polonium conspiracy theorists are reduced to what blogger Richard Silverstein writes--spending 80% of an article on Israel having nuclear reactors with the death of some scientists through accidental exposure, and the remainder of the article claiming that the fact that there are those who refute the accusation actually supports it.

And how do we know that Arafat was in fact poisoned with Polonium
Returning to Arafat’s symptoms, at least one he exhibited, severe diarrhea, is consistent with such poisoning. Ibish, of course, doesn’t mention this. Though it is true that Litvinenko lost his hair and Arafat did not.
Richard Silverstein, and the other conspiracy theorists, could have saved us a lot of trouble.

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