Random interesting news-of-the-day: According to David Frum (former Bush speech writer and a Canadian), Arafat is dying of AIDS. The article quotes some eastern block documents as well to bolster the claim that he has engaged in homosexual sex.
Ottawa Citizen article below the fold...
Former White House speechwriter David Frum has raised the prospect Yasser Arafat is suffering from AIDS, citing a former Romanian spymaster's allegations the Palestinian leader had sex with his male bodyguards.
Mr. Frum, a key figure in the Republican neo-conservative establishment, writes in the National Review Online that Mr. 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 Mr. 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?"
Mr. Frum, who recently co-wrote a book warning of the dangers of Islamic extremism with Richard Perle, an adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pointed to KGB evidence linking Mr. Arafat to homosexual activities between the 1960s and 1980s.
He cites a 1987 book by Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa, the deputy chief of Romania's intelligence service under Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. In his memoirs Red Horizons, Lt.-Gen. Pacepa claims Mr. Arafat's extensive KGB file revealed him to be a voracious homosexual and that Romanian agents had taped Mr. Arafat's sex sessions with his bodyguards in Buch-arest in 1978.
"The report was indeed an incredible account of fanaticism, of devotion to his cause, of tangled oriental political manoeuvres, of lies, of embezzled PLO funds deposited in Swiss banks, and of homosexual relationships, beginning with his teacher when he was a teenager and ended with his current bodyguards," Mr. Pacepa wrote of Mr. Arafat.
"If true, Arafat would have a great deal to conceal from his people and his murderously anti-homosexual supporters in the Islamic world," writes Mr. Frum.
Mr. Frum's allegations were quickly discounted by Mazen Chouaib, executive director of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations.
Mr. Chouaib said he was in contact on the weekend with an Arab diplomat with intimate knowledge of Mr. Arafat's medical condition.
"He informed me that the disease, according to sources within the medical team who are observing Arafat, is a rare blood disease that his family suffered from. His sister died not too long ago from the same disease and his brother (Fathi) is also dying in Egypt of the same disease," he said.
Mr. Chouaib said he did not know the medical term for the disease, but described it as a rare form of cancer.
Mr. Chouaib also questioned how Mr. Frum could allege Mr. Arafat was gay when he had a reputation in PLO circles as a lady's man and had fathered a daughter with his much younger wife.
"It sounds very strange that a respected person like David Frum would make such a statement," he said, noting the allegations have never been made by anyone within the PLO leader's inner circle.
Mr. Arafat, 75, is being treated for an undisclosed illness at a French military hospital.
Mr. Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, who coined the phrase "Axis of Evil," suggests Mr. Arafat was airlifted to France for medical treatment because he "could trust the French to protect his intimate secret."
Robert Fife is parliamentary bureau chief