Yasser Arafat Poisoned? Gay and Dying of AIDS?
Given the sketchiness of reports on the mystery ailment that is killing (or, as some believe, have already killed, Yasir Arafat, it’s inevitable that speculation will flourish. A couple of the more interesting theories going around:
Suspicions grow that Arafat is dying of AIDS (Israel Insider)
Former White House speechwriter David Frum has joined the growing chorus of pundits, medical experts, and intelligence operatives who claim Yasser Arafat is likely suffering from AIDS. Frum, a key figure in Republican politics and the man who coined the terms “axis of evil,” writes in National Review Online that Arafat’s undisclosed illness is well-known, but has been kept under wraps by the mainstream media. “Speaking of media bias, here’s a question you won’t hear in our big papers or on network TV: Does Yasser Arafat have AIDS?” asks Frum, who also writes for the National Post. “We know he has a blood disease that is depressing his immune system. We know that he has suddenly dropped considerable weight — possibly as much as one-third of all his body weight. We know that he is suffering intermittent mental dysfunction. What does this sound like?”
Earlier, John Loftus told John Batchelor on ABC radio on October 26 that Arafat is dying from AIDS. Loftus said the CIA has known this about Arafat for quite awhile and that as a result the US has encouraged Sharon not to take Arafat out because the US has known Arafat was about done. It was deemed better to have Arafat discredited as a homosexual. Although homosexuality is rife in the Arab world, it is at least officially consider a sin and a crime, and regarded–especially in fundamentalist circles–as a mark of great shame and depravity.
Frum pointed to KGB evidence linking Arafat to homosexual activities, citing a 1987 book by Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa, the deputy chief of Romania’s intelligence service under Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Hilarious. While I’ve got no information to confirm or deny this one, color me exceedingly skeptical. Aside for the fact that this is in a presumably anti-Arab publication (I found this on Memorandum), one would think such information would have been publicized by one of Arafat’s numerous enemies before now. This is also the first that I’ve heard about homosexuality being “rife” in the Arab world. While this topic has certainly been outside my research agenda, my limited understanding of sexual orientation is that it’s pretty much randomly distributed.
This one has been circulating a bit longer:
Arafat poisoned? (NY Daily News)
A Palenstian diplomat accused the Israelis yesterday of poisoning Yasser Arafat. “The doctors until now could not diagnose precisely what is wrong with him, but it is believed there is a poison,” Ali Kazak, who heads the Palestinian delegation to Australia, told the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne. “It could be poison because they have checked everything, and his body is in good health, there is no cancer, it is not leukemia.” Arafat’s doctor, Ashraf Kurdi, told the Al Jazeera satellite TV network that, “Arafat’s health condition makes poisoning a strong possibility.”
Israelis, who gave Arafat safe passage from his West Bank compound to a French military hospital last week, denied the charge. “It’s absolute nonsense; it’s completely ridiculous,” an Israeli government source said. Kurdi has not yet diagnosed Arafat’s mysterious blood ailment, and last night the 75-year-old Palestinian leader was hovering “between life and death.”
“He is in a coma,” Leila Shahid, the Palestinian envoy to France, said. “We don’t know the type, but it’s a reversible coma. He may or may not wake up. All vital organs are functioning.” But other Arafat aides insisted their 75-year-old leader was brain dead and on life support. They said his wife, Suha, is weighing whether to pull the plug. “He is being aided by respiratory machines and his condition appears irreversible,” a high-ranking Palestinian official told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
This one strikes me as more plausible. Certainly, there are many people who will be glad when Arafat is gone. Still, so far as I know, there is no evidence of poisoning.