Joods Actuel reports that a researcher has asked for more details from the Swiss institute that tested Yasir Arafat's remains for signs of polonium poisoning, but the answers place the entire report into question.
Dr. Rudi Roth asked Professor François Bochud, director of the research center of the University Hospital in Lausanne (CHUV) that did the tests, why the report didn't publish the margins for error as is standard scientific practice. He also asked why reverse-calculating the original concentrations of polonium based on the Swiss numbers yield obviously incorrect results. Director Bochud replied via email, "Because of the large uncertainties in the models and the measured values, an inverse calculation would not be not meaningful" and the researcher confessed: "Our conclusions were not based on any specific evidence but the consistency of all of the observations."
"The polonium that we did measure is actually the supported kind of polonium, the same kind of polonium that you would find naturally," admitted Bochud.
Independent scientists who looked at the Swiss report concluded that its conclusions appeared to be subjective and not based on the data contained in the report. Dr. Roth quotes Professor Atie Verschoor, Expertise Centre Environmental Medicine (ECEMed) in the Netherlands, who says, "Indeed, Bochud confirms there are important uncertainties in the model used and for that reason, and several others, no conclusions at all can be taken. That had to be the conclusion of the report."
Verschoor further said, “The error-margins are very high and caused by the fact that the material has not been kept in a controlled environment (8 years in a tomb), the decontamination operation and the calculation trying to eliminate the Po-210 quantity caused by radon in the soil. There are a lot of assumptions and they creates important inaccuracies. The researchers must have noticed it but did not document it.”
In addition, Professor Nicholas Priest, who formerly headed the biomedical research unit of the Atomic Energy Authority in Britain and who is familiar with the Litvinenko case, said that there is no real confidence interval provided by the report. He told The Independent that it is “far too dangerous and scientifically unjustified” to calculate how much polonium was in Arafat’s body on the basis of such tiny concentrations of polonium." When asked specifically whether the list of arguments in the report that support poisoning lack scientific credibility, his answer was “yes."
Priest added, "I think the study is seriously done, but their conclusions were to my mind somewhat biased as to please the people who were paying for the report."
Here is Dr. Roth's report summarizing the opinions of several experts that he spoke to along with some who were quoted in the media.
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