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JERUSALEM – The U.S. had information indicating late PLO leader Yasser Arafat may have been a homosexual who preyed on teenage boys, the National Security Agency’s former Palestinian analyst told WorldNetDaily.

The disclosure follows reports yesterday that secret medical documents reveal Arafat may have died of AIDS, with one Palestinian Authority doctor saying the virus appeared in Arafat’s bloodstream.

James J. Welsh, who in the early 1970s monitored communications for the NSA related to Arafat’s Fatah movement, said, “One of the things we looked for when we were intercepting Fatah communications were messages about Ashbal [Lion cub] members who would be called to Beirut from bases outside of Beirut. The Ashbal were often orphaned or abandoned boys who were brought into the organization, ostensibly to train for later entry into Fedayeen fighter units.

“Arafat always had several of these 13-15 year old boys in his entourage. We figured out that he would often recall several of these boys to Beirut just before he would leave for a trip outside Lebanon. It proved to be a good indicator of Arafat’s travel plans. While Arafat did have a regular security detail, many of those thought to be security personnel – the teenage boys – were actually there for other purposes.”

Arafat’s Fatah and PLO organizations based themselves in Beirut after they were expelled from Jordan in 1970. The terror groups remained in Lebanon until Israel’s military operations in the area in 1982.

Arafat died Nov. 11, 2004, at a military hospital in Paris. The official cause of death has not been released because French law prohibits distribution of medical records to anyone other than immediate family. Arafat’s widow, Suha, has refused to divulge any details of his illness.

Yesterday, Israel’s Haaretz daily published excerpts of a new book that states an analysis of a confidential pathology report from the French hospital in which Arafat was treated reveals AIDS could have been the cause of death.

Israeli and foreign doctors who said they saw the report list the specific cause of death as a massive brain hemorrhage. They say the report details do not lead to a conclusive determination on what caused Arafat’s death, but many of the symptoms Arafat exhibited were typical of AIDS.

Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat’s personal physician, reportedly told the Israeli authors he knows Arafat’s French doctors found the AIDS virus in the blood.

Many senior Palestinian officials said in interviews with the book’s authors they are convinced Arafat was poisoned by Israel. According to the officials, Arafat would receive candies and medicines from visitors and eat them without medical supervision.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office said the poison claims were “nonsense,” adding such assertions were investigated in the past and found to be false.

The French medical report stated no traces of poison were found in Arafat’s body.

A separate report by the New York Times also released yesterday claims Arafat’s medical records indicated the late PLO leader died of a stroke. The report, which says it is the “first independent review of [Arafat's medical] records” disputed claims Arafat died of AIDS. But like the Israeli analysis, the Times report states Arafat’s French doctors did not include HIV testing in their records, “an omission experts found bizarre.”

Following Arafat’s death, sources in the Israeli intelligence community told WND they used what they knew of the late PLO chairman’s symptoms and the information surrounding his hospitalization to determine, along with medical experts, the most likely cause of death.

The sources said AIDS fit with some of the results of Arafat’s blood chemistry, including a low blood platelet count that indicated a weakened immune system – a characteristic of the disease.

While Arafat was ill, some publicly speculated he was dying of AIDS.

The homosexual site, 365Gay.com, which deals regularly with issues related to HIV/AIDS, ran a piece reminding readers that, for several years, it has been suggested Arafat is bisexual and could have contracted the disease.

“If suggestions that Arafat has AIDS are true, it is doubtful it would be made public,” wrote 365Gay.com European bureau chief Malcolm Thornberry.

National Review diarist David Frum suggested in a column Arafat contracted AIDS from homosexual sex with his bodyguards.

Ion Pacepa, who was deputy chief of Romanian foreign intelligence under the Ceausescu regime and who defected to the West in 1978, says in his memoirs the Romanian government bugged Arafat and had recordings of the Arab leader in orgies with his security detail.

Various Israeli security sources have in the past suggested publicly Arafat might be homosexual. They’ve claimed Arafat’s former personal driver – a Mossad double agent – used to find teenage boys to bring back to the PLO leader. His wife, Suha, mostly lived abroad and rarely saw her husband.

Responding to the reports yesterday in a WorldNetDaily exclusive interview, chief Palestinian negotiator and former Arafat friend Saeb Erekat denied Arafat had AIDS or that he was homosexual.

“There is absolutely no truth to these rumors and reports, which are baseless and part of the same campaign that tried to smear Arafat while he was alive,” said Erekat. “None of this stuff is believable. I trust the French, and they didn’t conclude anything about AIDS. I am not an investigator so I can’t say how he died, but I don’t think it was from AIDS.”

Erekat called on Suha Arafat to “immediately release the confidential reports surrounding Arafat’s death. This way the truth can be known to all.”

Related story:

PA leader: Arafat was not homosexual

Secret report: Arafat may have died of AIDS

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