George Monbiot's rabid attack on Chris Busby

A personal statement by Chris Busby

Fukushima, Calcium Supplements,
the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima,
George Monbiot et al:
The Real Target; the Real Strategy

The man who as a columnist,
kills children every day
Who puts himself beyond attack,
and hides himself away

"News Paper Man" Song, Busby 2011

In the last two years, the evidence for the failure of the current radiation risk model has become overwhelming. This risk model, which predicts and explains the cancer and other health outcomes of exposure to internal radioactive substances has been shown by hundreds of scientific papers in the peer-reviewed literature to be wildly incorrect. In April 2009 the recently retired secretary of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) admitted to me on video in Stockholm that this was true, and that the ICRP model could not be used to predict or explain the health effects on internal radioactive exposures.

The matter has been addressed by an independent organization, the European Committee on Radiation Risk set up in Brussels in 1998. The ICRP and the ECRR have the same independent status. The only differences are that the ECRR is independent of the nuclear lobby, that its risk model (which is accurate) is based on real observations and supported by science, and that unlike ICRP it does not enjoy the fiscal benefits of being registered as a charity under UK law. During 2011 there have been two major developments which make the question of which radiation risk model is correct of paramount importance. These are:

  • Fukushima
  • Fallujah
The nuclear industry were poised to begin building more nuclear power stations when the Fukushima reactors melted down causing contamination of the Japan population worse than Chernobyl. The military were accused through research of having developed and used an illegal nuclear weapon which had caused enormous increases in cancer and congenital malformations in Iraq. In both these areas, the key scientific player was Chris Busby, the spokesman and scientific secretary of the ECRR. It became absolutely necessary for the nuclear military complex to destroy his credibility. But such a strategy is not without its dangers: as Mark Twain famously said: there is no such thing as bad publicity.
The real target
I am not the real target for these attacks: it is the risk model of the ECRR and its supporting scientific evidence. Attacks on Chris Busby are not new. Indeed the UK Ministry of Defence regularly employ personal attacks on me in the many courts cases I am involved with as expert witness. In such a judicial forum these personal attacks are ignored and the decisions are made on the basis of the evidence, and so far all have been in favour of my clients and not for the MoD.

Against this background, and immediately after the Fukushima explosions, George Monbiot suddenly and astonishingly began to support nuclear energy. In the last year he has been gratuitously attacking me and my scientific credibility in various talks around the country. At least one of these was videoed; I have the tape. Monbiot has been careful to avoid any real face to face debate on the science with me, despite having been invited to do so. The most recent opportunity was when he was when invited by Oxford CND and Oxford Green Party to meet me at Oxford Town Hall on November 3rd 2011. He again declined to appear. I went and addressed Monbiot as if he were there: the meeting was video recorded and is on YouTube in two parts: Part 1 here , Part 2 here .

The falseness of the people attacking. Their real affiliation
George Monbiot has no knowledge or scientific expertise in the area of radiation and health. This is why he dare not debate the issue of nuclear energy with someone who does know. His position is clearly informed by someone else, and the most likely individual is Malcolm Grimston who he shared a platform with at the Royal Society of Chemistry recently arguing the nuclear energy case. Grimston, for some time employed by the nuclear industry as an expert in the psychology of changing public opinion, was George’s Chemistry teacher at Stowe school.

In Monbiot’s article published on 21st Nov he has canvassed opinion from two scientists about the efficacy of the Calcium supplements for displacing Strontium from the DNA. His choice of these was, perhaps, unfortunate. The UK scientist he chose, Gerry Thomas, who I might describe as a “Chernobyl Denier” in the same sense as the concept of “Holocaust Denier” has been employed, is an opinionated woman who is presented by the media (principally the BBC) as an expert on the health effects of radiation despite having never published anything much on the issue. She is much given to grand and incorrect statements about radiation effects and has been much in demand on pro-nuclear power TV programmes. Her statements on the issue of the Calcium supplements are easily shown to be scientifically incorrect and I will demand an apology from her and her institutions.

The method; the operation
Monbiot phoned me on the afternoon of Thursday 18th November. I was in Stockholm having been asked to present the findings of my research in Fallujah Iraq which had been published in the Journal Conflict and Health on September 2nd and after 30 days became the most accessed paper in the Journal’s history. This paper is evidence that the military have been deploying a new and secret Uranium weapon which results in the genetic decimation of the local population.

Monbiot said that he had emailed a series of 12 questions which I had to respond to by midday Friday. Other questions were also sent to James Ryan, the owner and proprietor of the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima, based in Japan. Both Busby and Ryan made answers to Monbiot, but these answers were not made part of the article in the Guardian.
Should we not be concerned that this operations was carried out in such a last minute and perfunctory way?

The argument about the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima
I have been arguing that people living in the contaminated areas of Japan are going to suffer serious adverse health effects. Using the ECRR risk model I calculated that between 200,000 and 400,000 extra cancers will result if the people are not evacuated from the 200km zone. The consequences of the Fukushima contamination are easily predicted by the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. This is seen in the book ECRR published a few days ago: Fukushima and Health: What to Expect.

On the basis of the ECRR risk model, which adds high hazard weightings to nuclides which bind to DNA, I reasoned that there would be a protective effect if children or adults took daily supplements of Calcium, Magnesium and also Caesium (though governments ban Caesium in tablets). Following this suggestion I was approached by two separate organizations who wanted to help the children of Fukushima. One was James Ryan’s organisation.

The argument about the supplements can be broken down into four parts:

1. Does the Calcium work? Does it protect against Strontium-90 and Uranium as I predicted, or is it a scam to make money?
The answer is that it does work. The theory is borne out in practice and a number of peer reviewed papers published in the 50s and 60s show. The theory and the scientific evidence have been separately reported. In this, Gerry Thomas and Monbiot’s other source of scientific advice, Professor Ohtsura Niwa, were both completely incorrect. In the period of the global weapons testing, scientists were extremely concerned about exposure to Sr-90 which was believed to cause leukemia and cancer (a belief borne out by the cancer epidemic which began in the 1980 and continues). This was because Strontium-90 was known to bind to DNA (Steffensen and La Chance, 1957) and was known to cause genetic damage in mouse studies (Luning and Frolen 1963). This is why the 1960s research on blocking the the Sr90 from accessing the DNA was being carried out. It is therefore ironic that no one is concerned about the effects of the same substance in the Fukushima populations even though the levels are very much higher in Fukushima. The gross ignorance by Monbiot’s scientific advisors, one of whom is a member of the ICRP, is breathtaking and supports the belief that the ICRP is incompetent to advise on the health effects of the Fukushima catastrophe. I will take steps to have a public apology from both of these scientists.
2. The cost. Why are the pills being advertised on the internet so much more expensive than those being sold in the health food shops?
The answer is, as I told Monbiot, that James Ryan decided the price entirely on his own. When I was told of the price I phoned Ryan and asked him to bring the cost down. Ryan explained that the price was decided by his marketing people. When the price wasn’t changed, I made a video and put it on Youtube telling everyone to take the pills but that they could buy them at any health food shop if they didn’t want to pay the CBFCF prices. The video is here
The fact is that I had no part in any of the websites nor in marketing or pricing the pills.
3. The Busby Laboratory
James Ryan’s project was to set up an independent lab in Japan where food or other samples could be brought for analysis. He believed (correctly) that the official measurements were being falsified and felt that independent analysis was needed. He wanted to call the lab the Busby Laboratory because, following my lecture tour in Japan this summer, people believe in me as the only honest scientist in this area. I advised Ryan on what instruments were needed and put him in touch with manufacturers. Pending the establishment of this lab, I agreed to arrange analyses in the UK either with my own gamma spectrometry equipment or by sending the samples to commercial labs in the UK. The costs of these analyses are based entirely on the costs asked for by the commercial labs which is quite a lot of money. I told this to George Monbiot but he didn’t write it into his article.
4. Who profits?
Depending on how you look at the concept of "profit", either no-one profits or the Japanese children do. The operation as proposed and agreed between Ryan and me at the beginning was entirely not-for-profit. Any money obtained from the sale of the supplement pills was to be invested into the operation to pay for more measuring equipment. This was a formal agreement made between Ryan and me. All of this was told to Monbiot and again it has not been reported. I have received no money in all this. I should point out that most of what I do is for free. For example, I have acted as expert witness in more than 10 nuclear test veteran tribunals, and have won pensions for them by overturning Ministry of Defence decisions, and have only obtained my train fares. The reason I am independent is that I am not primarily interested in money and cannot be threatened by loss of credibility or status. Nevertheless, the attacks that have increasingly been aimed at me in the last two years have resulted in my being cut off from funding support and if nothing happens, soon I will have to sell my house and move onto a boat and live on a pension of £400 a month.
The story, the outcome
From the very beginning the nuclear industry and its friends understood the danger of such an organization as the Christopher Busby Foundation for the Children of Fukushima. They absolutely could not have independent laboratories measuring food and causing political problems. When all this began back in August, people wrote warning me that James Ryan was some kind of operator employed by the nuclear industry to draw me into a situation that would damage my credibility. But I thought this wasn’t so and I welcome anyone who, like him, has the guts to actually do something practical for the children. Ryan has a child who is gravely ill as a result of some medical error and this is why he wanted to do something — he wanted to prevent others having to live with sick and dying children. And even if he were an operator, I thought that the publicity around the supplements might cause people to consider taking them. And I was correct. It has. And this will save lives, and that is worth more than my credibility.

This is why I allowed James Ryan to use my name. But as time progressed, he was attacked and it became impossible for him to officially set up the CBFCF. He was threatened with death and he has written to me saying that threats were made to kill his son. No pills were permitted to be imported by the Japanese authorities. Scientists who had agreed to be involved were framed and were frightened off.

For the record, I still think James Ryan is on the level.

The Guardian articles were a badly thought through and strategically foolish mistake on the part of Monbiot and his advisors and show the lengths of desperation to which they have descended. The articles have given me publicity, and the crass errors of scientific knowledge displayed by Monbiot’s advisors Gerry Thomas and Ohtsuwa Niwa make them and the Guardian (which should have checked the facts) easy targets for a libel action. On my behalf the Low Level Radiation Campaign has written to Gerry Thomas and to Imperial College (the LLRC letter).

I am grateful that these pathetic attempts to destroy my credibility seem to be the best the nuclear industry and the military can manage: at least they haven’t tried to kill me yet. Or if they have, I didn't notice. Watch this space and remember Karen Silkwood.

Chris Busby Nov 23rd 2011

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