Intelligence agencies routinely gather medical intelligence on the world’s political leaders. Officially, this information is used to ascertain the viability for continuation in office for leaders. However, there is a dark side to such intelligence collection.
Medical intelligence also contains data on the status of a leader’s immune system and his or her susceptibility to a number of diseases or other external health threats. Such information can be useful in devising “natural” assassination weapons, such as cancer, radiation poisoning, and food poisoning.
The collection of information on medical factors is known as “medical intelligence.” MEDINT, as it is also known, is defined by the US Department of Defense as “That category of intelligence resulting from collection, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of foreign medical, bio-scientific, and environmental information that is of interest to strategic planning and to military medical planning and operations for the conservation of the fighting strength of friendly forces and the formation of assessments of foreign medical capabilities in both military and civilian sectors.”
Intelligence agencies take MEDINT one step further. The Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad, in particular, use MEDINT to analyze the medical conditions of foreign leaders, as well as their treatment regimen and schedules, to determine the best methods for administering toxic doses of medicines, pathogens, or other deadly agents to cause death, in other words, medical assassination.
Eight years after his death, the body of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is to be exhumed. After researchers at a Swiss institute discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on Arafat’s clothes and other personal effects and a French court ordered an inquiry into Arafat’s death, an autopsy will be conducted on Arafat’s body. Arafat fell seriously ill while being held as a virtual hostage by the Israelis at his Ramallah, Palestine headquarters. Arafat was flown to a hospital in Paris and died a month later in November 2004. Mossad is believed by many to have carried out a “medical assassination” of Arafat.
At the same time that Arafat’s exhumation and autopsy was scheduled, Turkish investigators discovered high levels of DDT, strychnine, and polonium in the body of Turkish President Turgut Ozal.
Ozal died suddenly from a heart attack in 1993 but the new information from a recent autopsy suggests he may have been assassinated through poisoning. Ozal’s widow said her late husband died after drinking a glass of lemonade. Ozal made enemies of the Turkish military and its secret “deep state” network known as “Ergenekon.” Ozal was also an opponent of George H. W. Bush’s “Desert Storm” invasion of Iraq and he made enemies inside the CIA as well as in Mossad.
Two other leaders, known for their nationalist policies, may have also fallen victim to CIA medical assassins. Indonesian President Ahmed Sukarno, confined to house arrest after his overthrow in 1965 in a CIA coup, died in 1970. There is evidence that the CIA may have altered Sukarno’s kidney medication. Sukarno was confined to Bogor Palace and his level of medical treatment was dictated by the Suharto regime and their CIA interlocutors. After falling seriously ill, Sukarno died in the Jakarta Army Hospital.
After Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s sudden death from what was believed to be a heart attack in 1970, there were reports that he may have been poisoned. An aide to Nasser, who was close to Vice President Anwar Sadat, reportedly hid from forensic examiners nail clippings and hair samples taken from the body of Nasser for later testing. Upon becoming Egyptian president, Sadat reversed many of Nasser’s policies, including ejecting Soviet military advisers, opening relations with Israel, and steering Egypt into the Western camp.
In 1961, the CIA station in Leopoldville, Congo tried to poison nationalist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Eventually, Lumumba was killed by a Belgian mercenary firing squad in the employment of the CIA. There were also many attempts by the CIA to poison Cuban President Fidel Castro. In 1976, the former leftist president of Brazil, Joao Goulart, died from a sudden heart attack in exile in Uruguay. A former Uruguayan intelligence agent later revealed that Goulart’s heart medication pills were altered in order to have a “contrary effect.” The Goulart family’s cook in Uruguay was later discovered to be a Brazilian intelligence agent with links to the CIA. Goulart was ousted in a 1964 CIA-led coup.
After cases of cancer began to affect several Latin American progressive leaders, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, himself battling cancer, suggested the CIA had dusted off its old medical assassination program. The day following Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s announcement that she was being treated for thyroid cancer, Chavez stated, “Would it be so strange that they’ve [the Americans] invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” Cancer also plagued Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo (later ousted in a CIA-backed coup), former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Brazilian incumbent President Dilma Rousseff.
To Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa, Chavez had a dire warning, “Evo, take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don’t know.” After the revelations about the deaths of Arafat and Ozal, Chavez has every right to be concerned.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs.
After the death of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat seven years ago, many voices called for an official and open investigation into the cause; they were ignored. Palestinian, Arabic and even international parties have been trying to keep the cause hidden or, at least, away from serious discussion.
There are strong suggestions that those behind Arafat’s death were the Israelis, backed by the US, as they used to announce repeatedly and loudly that he was an obstacle to the peace process. That idea was developed after his famous stance at the second Camp David summit in 1999.
The unknown factor is who helped the Israelis and Americans to assassinate the Palestinian President. It seems obvious that he must have been a Palestinian from the leader’s close coterie. Doubts surround Arafat’s successors who divided his heritage among themselves but did not follow the way that he had set out in the way he treated the Israelis; they opted for another, worse way, which is leading the Palestinians to an unknown end.
Not only Fatah members or PLO factions but also all Palestinians used to ask for a public inquiry to know the reasons for Arafat’s death. The issue is still a cause of discontent among the current Palestinian leadership whose members were ready to occupy his position.
Many of Arafat’s successors across the leadership promised to launch a public inquiry, but they have not done so. They did not even publish the report from the French military hospital where Arafat passed away. That created even more suspicions among Palestinian citizens and factions.
Following an investigation by Aljazeera TV, it now seems almost certain that Arafat was killed by a dose of Polonium, the same radioactive substance which was used to kill the ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. It is not known yet who was responsible, or how this substance was administered to Arafat. Some say it was inserted through his ear, some through a poisoned kiss, and others a poisoned meal.
There is a prime suspect, but he will not be named easily until a comprehensive, independent investigation has been carried out. Aljazeera’s report, broadcast on Tuesday, did not name exactly who was involved in Arafat’s death; it did, though, prove that he was killed by Polonium which must have been injected or inserted into his body by one of his close aides.
For now, there are some important facts which should be made public about this issue. The first is that Mahmoud Abbas was the main tool used by Arafat’s foes to diminish his power when he was nominated to be the first Palestinian Prime Minster while the President was still alive. That was clearly against Arafat’s will, and his supporters took to the streets in massive demonstrations all over the Palestinian territories calling Abbas a collaborator with the Israelis and Americans. Those demonstrations continued until Abbas was deposed as PM.
After Arafat’s death, Abbas was in control of all of his positions and somewhat miraculously became the only choice to succeed him as President, supported by all Fatah and PLO leaders. Abbas was also welcomed by the Israelis, Arab, US and other international leaders as Arafat’s logical successor and the real partner for peace in the Middle East.
The fact that Mahmoud Abbas refused any kind of investigation into his predecessor’s death increases doubts about plans to keep the cause a secret. It is known that cultures from Arafat’s body were taken several days after his death to be tested in French, Jordanian and Tunisian laboratories, but they were “lost”.
Even the conditions surrounding Arafat’s burial were suspicious. Sheikh Tayssit al-Tamimi, the Palestinian Mufti who led the funeral prayer, confirmed several times on different occasions that there was suspicion regarding Arafat’s death.
Another important point relates to Mohammed Dahlan, who was one of the planned successors of Arafat. In a meeting in one of Gaza’s mosques in 2006, Yasser Abu-Helal, the founder of Al Ahrar Movement, declared that Dahlan had told Hamas leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi that his movement must take part in a campaign of incitement against Arafat in 2004 to protect him from being assassinated by the Israelis.
Rantissi refused and the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, told a press conference that Yasser Arafat was the target of a dirty tricks campaign by Palestinian figures; he said that Hamas would not keep silent if any harm came to President Arafat.
Neverthess, Yasser Arafat was killed and no formal investigations have been conducted. It is important now, following Aljazeera’s investigations, for a public inquiry to be opened by the International Criminal Court, which has the legal authority to conduct such an investigation. This is an issue of international importance, given that the peace process is still trundling on to nowhere. Palestinians need to know who has their best interests at heart, and who killed Yasser Arafat.
- PA Agrees to Exhume Body of Yasser Arafat After Evidence of Radiation Poisoning Alleged (alethonews.wordpress.com)