08 July '12..
An AFP news story and photo captions falsely allege that a Swiss report concluded that Yasser Arafat had been fatally poisoned. For instance, there are these photo captions:
A file picture dated November 16, 2003 shows late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat smiling to reporters outside his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004, was poisoned by polonium, according to the findings of laboratory research carried out in Switzerland and cited in an Al-Jazeera report on July 3, 2012. AFP PHOTO/JAMAL ARURIJAMAL ARURI/AFP/GettyImages (Emphases added.)
There was also a July 3 AFP article headlined "Arafat poisoned by polonium: Report," which begins:
Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004, was poisoned by polonium, according to the findings of laboratory research out in Switzerland and cited in an Al-Jazeera report on Tuesday.
But the Swiss report does not conclude that Arafat died of poisoning. Francois Bochud, head of the Institute of Radiation Physics at the University of Lausanne, the research institute which conducted the study, has repeatedly made clear that that conclusion cannot be drawn from his work.
For instance, the very same AFP article reports in the last paragraphs:
To confirm the theory that he was poisoned by polonium it would be necesseary to exhume and analyse Arafat's remains, Bochud said.
"If (Suha Arafat) really wants to know what happened to her husband (we need) to find a sample -- I mean, an exhumation . . . should provide us with a sample that should have a very high quality of polonium if he was poisoned," he said.
So the diligent minority who bother to read to the end of the article will get an inkling that, contrary to the articles's headline and first paragraph, the Swiss report did not, in fact, conclude that Arafat had been poisoned.
In addition, the Associated Press reported:
Mr. Bochud stressed that the discovery did not provide proof that Mr. Arafat had been poisoned. That would require further testing.
“What is possible to say is that we have an unexplained level of polonium, so this clearly goes toward the hypothesis of a poisoning, but our results are clearly not a proof of any poisoning,” he said by telephone from Switzerland.
Even Al Jazeera does not say that the Swiss research concluded that Arafat was poisoned.
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