ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

AIDS, or poisoning or malpractice - did the French kill Arafat?

There has been much confusion about 75-year-old Yassar Arafat's condition. On October 29 Mr Arafat, leader of the Palestians, was flown from his compound in Ramallah to Paris suffering from a mystery illness and stomach pains. Last week Israeli TV reported he was dead. Other reports, rejected by his wife Suha, suggested he is brain dead.

Mrs Arafat, a resident of France for past five years, has been controlling access to her husband. On Monday she accused other Palestinian leaders of conspiring against her husband. They were, she told Arabic TV station al-Jazeera, trying "to bury Arafat while he is still alive".

Today, a team of senior Palestinian officials arrived back in the West Bank after visiting the Paris hospital where Mr Arafat is lying in a coma. But Palestinians are still in the dark about their leader's true condition.

Latest BBC report says doctors have confirmed Mr Arafat's coma has deepened and that he suffered a brain haemorrhage. Reasons for his illness are still not clear. Doctors ruled out cancer and poisoning.
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Here is some food for thought for conspiracy theorists. A post entitled "Did the French Kill Arafat?" I found at CodeBlueBlog via a neat aggregator of medical blogs.

A commenter at the post says "the big mystery about Yasser Arafat's diagnosis makes the diagnosis either of two things: either Arafat was poisoned with a hepatotoxin (and the pro-Israelis are trying to avoid making him a martyr), or Arafat is an alcoholic (and the pro-Arafat faction is trying to hush this story up)."

CodeBlueBlog thinks the final diagnosis is going to be Hepatitis and iatrogenicide - and says, quote, "He had hepatitis all along (viral illness, flu like, elevated WBC, elevated LFT's, inanition) and they got so crazy flying him to Paris and rushing to rule out Leukemia that they killed him in the process."

Also, here's an update (found via Kevin, M.D.) on Arafat's demise: AIDS, or poisoning or malpractice. [Heh. Note the subtitle: "The Medical News From France Smells like Yesterday's Brie"]

More theories later, as and when I find them. One thing is for sure, he is very ill and must be feeling horrible. I hope nobody pulls the plug on him though. He'd probably enjoy hearing all the news and controversy. It's been said people who are in a coma can still hear and absorb information.

It would be great to see him recover. He could hear what everyone was saying about him and find out where he is to be buried. Seems his burial plot will be at his compound, the plan agreed on by the Israeli government, which ruled out burying him in Jerusalem. And he'd also see that Egypt has offered to host a funeral ceremony for him at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, allowing Arab leaders to pay their respects without having to pass through Israel for the funeral.
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Palestine is in the Bible

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've not followed the ins and outs of the Palestine/Israel story. Seems it's gone on for so long, I feel I'll never be able to catch up. I do read the news and watch TV documentaries, but can't grasp it - in the same way I couldn't grasp what was behind Northern Ireland which at times seemed to have funding tentacles from North America. If I put my mind to it, I could try to get more understanding but, like Northern Ireland, I find it too upsetting. Can't bring myself to follow every twist and turn. Religion is involved and there's so much ingrained hatred going back hundreds of years.

When I was 10 or 11 years old and at school, I recall learning about a place called Palestine. It must have made an impact and deep impression on me because my memory is poor on other details of school work. Right now, I can picture the text book we used (the Bible) to learn about Palestine. I still have the book. It has line drawings of Palestinians and maps that I traced neatly into my exercise book.

We were taught about Palestine in our classes for Religious Instruction, geography and history. For sure in the Bible there is a country called Palestine, and people called Palestinians. I guess Israel must have taken over and the Palestinians want it back again. Why not? Can any reader here explain it in a nutshell? Why is Israel being so mean - is it because they refuse to give in to terrorist demands - which is what the PLO are, aren't they? I'm not sure that I know the difference between freedom fighters, murderers and terrorists. Like I said, sorry I don't really know what I am talking about here.
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What is "Stockholm Syndrome"?

See if you don't check facts, how your memory can play tricks. For some reason I'd always connected Yassar Arafat's PLO to the amazing story of what happened to Patty Hearst 30 years ago - and Stockholm Syndrome. Perhaps I'd confused the two because the PLO and SLA were one of the first terrorist groups to spring out of our TV sets and into our homes.

Stockholm Syndrome is what happens to people when they are kidnapped, and whilst being captive are brainwashed into being sympathetic and positive about their captors' cause, eventually siding with them, and even falling in love. The name came about in 1973 when some bank robbers in Stockholm, Sweden took members of the public hostage, inside of a bank for six days. The hostages went (psychologically) on the side of their captors and even resisted rescue attempts. Afterwards they refused to testify against their captors.

Some people are suggesting the recent Elizabeth Smart* kidnapping sounds like a case of Stockholm Syndrome. [*See overview: nine months after being abducted from her Salt Lake City home, 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart is reunited with her family after tipsters recognize Brian David Mitchell, a self-proclaimed prophet who once worked as a handyman in the girl's home. Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, face kidnapping and sexual assault charges.]

Yahoo describes Stockholm Syndrome and the most famous incident in the U.S. that involved the kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst: "Captured by a radical political group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974, Ms. Hearst eventually became an accomplice of the group, taking on an assumed name and assisting them in several bank robberies. After her re-capture, she denounced the group and her involvement.

What causes Stockholm Syndrome? Apparently, captives begin to identify with their captors initially as a defensive mechanism, out of fear of violence. Small acts of kindness by the captor are magnified, since finding perspective in a hostage situation is by definition impossible. Rescue attempts are also seen as a threat, since it's likely the captive would be injured during such attempts.

It's important to note symptoms occur under tremendous emotional and often physical duress. The behaviour is considered a common survival strategy for victims of interpersonal abuse, and has been observed in battered spouses, abused children, prisoners of war, and concentration camp survivors."
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"They weren't bad people. They let me eat, they let me sleep, they gave me my life"

- A hostage from Flight 847
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Note, Hearst's sentence was commuted after 22 months by President Jimmy Carter. She was released from prison on February 1, 1979 and pardoned by President Clinton in January, 2001 during the final weeks of his presidency. Hearst's notoriety led to her being cast in several films, including John Waters' Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Pecker and Cecil B. DeMented. She is now known as Patricia Hearst Shaw, which means she must have married. Her autobiography has been published.

Here is the full story about Patty Hearst, Kathleen Soliah and the SLA by Katherine Ramsland at Court TV's Crime Library. It gripped the world for much longer than the OJ Simpson case.
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Murder case and investigative analysis

This morning, afted reading a medical blog, I started on a post about Yassar Arafat and ended with this about the tragic mystery of JonBenet Ramsey.

Searching for a link to the PLO led me to do search on Patty Hearst and the SLA - whose kidnapping story linked me to Stockholm Syndrome - and flagged up the story of Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping - which triggered my memory of OJ Simpson - and another story that gripped the nation: the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

The parents of JonBenet Ramsey, a little American beauty pageant princess, reported that she had been kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. The little girl's murdered body was found in the house later on (covered with a white blanket) which police had missed during their initial enquiries.

Last I'd read, in a Sunday Times report a few years ago, was that her wealthy parents (father in particular) were under suspicion. See the strange murder case of JonBenet Ramsey, an investigative analysis - from The Crime Library.

On searching further for the outcome, I found an analysis that says:

"...At the end of 2002, the Boulder Police Department in Colorado announced that it will no longer investigate the case, despite new leads and new information. The Boulder investigators have transferred the investigation to the district attorney's office.

The Denver Post wrote on January 8, 2003, that the Ramseys settled their defamation suit against the New York Post. Terms were not disclosed, but the Ramseys had sought $4 million in damages against the paper..."

Nothing is ever as it seems. This is a very sad (and sordid sounding) story of a poor little rich girl who appears to have been exploited all of her life. Certainly, in my view, her egotistical and vain parents were guilty of tarting her up as an adult glamour model and pushing her into the limelight for creepy competitive adulation and commercial gain. Hopefully, one day, someone's conscience will be so troubled they will confess. It's rare for people to take deadly secrets to their grave without leaving any clues. God bless and RIP JonBenet Ramsey.
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Courtesy NYT

On Nov. 10, 1871, journalist-explorer Henry M. Stanley found missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone in central Africa and delivered his famous greeting: ''Dr. Livingstone, I presume?''

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 11/10/2004
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