Monbiot goes on the offensive in print

George Monbiot goes on the offensive in print:
The Guardian, November 2011

journalist Monbiot In November 2011 The Guardian published two articles in which Monbiot repeated what he had said about childhood leukaemia during his Left Hook lecture tour earlier in the year. He also launched a fresh attack on Professor Chris Busby and the advice he was giving to people in Japan to protect themselves from radioactive discharges from Fukushima. He accused Busby of exploiting people's fears for personal profit.

In preparing these articles he bullied Busby and ignored information supplied by LLRC, as Richard Bramhall reports here.

Geraldine Thomas

Monbiot was mentored by nuclear enthusiast Professor Geraldine Thomas of Imperial College, London (pictured left). She criticised Busby's advice on precautions against radioactivity from Fukushima, saying:

  • radioactive elements do not bind to DNA which shows how little [Professor Busby] understands about basic radiobiology
  • Professor Busby's assertion that Caesium causes heart disease was ludicrous
  • administering stable Calcium and Strontium is useless (in fact it's standard medical advice).

Wrong, wrong and wrong. See here for the science and watch why low levels of radio-Caesium damage children's hearts.

We wrote to Professor Thomas. She replied I stand by the comments I made to George Monbiot during his research for this article.
More bizarre views from Professor Thomas -- on Chernobyl, Fukushima, and stable Uranium.

In the same article Monbiot suggested that Professor Busby was seeking to profit financially from the distress of people in Japan by selling goods and services at inflated prices. This is far from the truth. No payments had been made to the bank account Monbiot referred to. The Foundation was quickly blocked by legal moves in Japan and imports of the products were banned, so there were no sales. Even if these obstacles had not been created, the formal non-profit agreement between Busby and the businessman who wanted to create the Foundation was that any profits would be ploughed back into further research. Rebuttal from Professor Busby.

New International Radiation Symbol

In the same article (21 Nov.'11) Monbiot expressed his faith in the effectiveness of the Japanese government's precautions at Fukushima. People in Japan criticised him in an email to The Guardian. Here is their message, which they copied to LLRC.

Oxford Town Hall concert hall


The Lord Mayor of Oxford invited Busby and Monbiot to debate the science in a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall on 3rd November 2011 (in the hall pictured, left). Monbiot declined. The meeting went ahead without him. See the video here, part 1 and part 2 here.

Monbiot repeated his opinions in the Guardian on 5th December.

Alan Rusbridger - Editor in Chief at the Guardian until 2015 (pictured left) - never allowed Busby space to respond. So much for the paper's stance as a champion of liberal values.

Richard Bramhall: 27th November 2011. Updated February 2017

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