[ RadSafe ] Busby N Another reference to Fallujah affair

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Dec 2 06:51:24 CST 2011

Dear Roger,

I came across an essay in which Busby's Fallujah exploits were detailed by Babara Rose Johnston an "environmental anthropologist" (whatever that may mean!).In the same article,she has been extremely critical of an article I wrote on the absence of genetic effect in the children of A-bomb survivors. She admirably discovered my conflict of interest in the matter!!. You may be able to access the item which appeared at many places!


She did not care to notice that I have been reviewing research papers from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) , Hiroshima whenever a new paper appeared in the main stream literature. I have been very neutral in presenting the matter for the benefit of my readers.

Suffice it to say that when you are biased you cannot be objective. You tend to view everything therough a colored prism


 From: Roger Helbig <rwhelbig at gmail.com>
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu 
Sent: Friday, 2 December 2011, 17:44
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Busby Now Being Described as Chemistry Professor
I would think that the esteemed bereted one would even want to put a
stop to the misrepresentation in this article by Clinical Associate
Professor Hannah Gurman at New York University.  I went to relocate
the article at the original Foreign Policy Focus site and Googled "The
Under-Examined Story of Fallujah " which extensively cites articles by
Busby and found pages of hits so this false information has quickly
flooded the internet world.  That is the power of the fakir and
propagandist in today's world.

I was surprised to find that the author did do some research - it is
just that she leads with the lies and then casts some doubt on them
later - no one is likely read to the end so she makes the impression
that has led to Tweets and over 30 repostings (that's as far as I got
before I found a Tweet leading back to the original source and I
decided I needed to end this seemingly endless search and go to bed
since it is after 4AM

Excerpt of article by Hannah Gurman at NYU in Foreign Policy in Focus
follows -

Many residents have suspected a link between the drastic rise in birth
defects and the weapons deployed by U.S. military during the war. The
United States has admitted to using white phosphorus in Fallujah, a
toxin in incendiary bombs that causes severe burns. But it denies
targeting civilians or employing a class of armor-piercing weapons
that contain depleted uranium, a byproduct of nuclear weapons used in
the production of munitions and armory and known to cause mutagenic

The Science and Its Critics

Two recent studies led by Dr. Christopher Busby, a chemistry professor
at the University of Ulster who specializes in environmental
toxicology, have attempted to document and explain Fallujah’s health
crisis. The first was an epidemiological study conducted by a team of
11 researchers who visited 711 households in Fallujah. Published in
the December 2010 issue of the International Journal of Environmental
Research and Public Health, it found that congenital birth defects,
including neural tube, cardiac, and skeletal malformations, were 11
times higher than normal rates, and rose to their highest levels in
2010. The study also found a seven-to-38-fold increase in several
site-specific cancers, as well as a drastic shift in the ratio of
female-to-male births, with 15 percent fewer boys born in the study

In a follow-up study, Busby and his team tested hair samples from 25
mothers and fathers of children with genetic abnormalities in
Fallujah. In addition to normally occurring elements, they found
uranium. The study, published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal
of Conflict and Health, concluded that this was a “primary” or
“related cause” of the increase in birth defects and cancer in
Fallujah. In a recent interview on Russia Today, Busby explained that,
although the research team expected to find depleted uranium, they
actually found a slightly enriched form of the element. This has led
him to speculate that a “whole new set of anti-personnel weapons” was
secretly deployed in Fallujah and possibly elsewhere.

Busby, who wears a black beret and speaks with a burning intensity in
his voice, is not your typical laboratory scientist prone to avoid
superlatives or qualify claims. “This is like nothing we’ve ever found
in any epidemiological study ever,” he said. Yet the journal Lancet
rejected his studies without explanation. Busby believes it is part of
an intentional sabotage: “There are some serious operators out there,”
he says, “and they don’t want the story to get out.” These stark
conclusions and provocative conspiracy theories deliberately blur the
line between science and politics. In a world in which these two
realms are generally sharply divided, there is something refreshing
about a scientist who is not afraid to get political.

Yet, as experts at NYU Medical Center confirmed in their response to
my queries about the quality of these studies, Busby’s findings are
not without their problems.

In their assessment of the epidemiology study, NYU Professors Paolo
Toniolo, Judith Zelikoff, and George Friedman-Jimenez were critical of
the study’s methodology and cast doubt on the accuracy of its
conclusions. They acknowledged the challenge of conducting
epidemiological research in wartime and postwar conditions, but argued
that the study did not adequately address the inevitable biases
involved. Toniolo questioned the report’s claim that the researchers
conducted a random sampling of houses in the study area and observed
that, among other biases, the study did not address socioeconomics as
a factor in the health of the population still living in Fallujah.
Zelikoff explained that the findings omitted important information
concerning the background of the individuals in the study, including
smoking, contagious disease, and the quality of maternal health care.

Friedman-Jimenez noted that, especially in a climate of fear and
mistrust, the method of gathering information through questionnaires
to households would likely result in an overestimate of risk. “The
magnitude of these biases, however, is not likely to be big enough to
completely explain the extraordinarily large observed relative risks,”
he said. “What fraction of the increased risk is due to these and
other biases is very unclear. The role of ‘quick and dirty’ studies
like this one, conducted under difficult conditions, is not to inform
policy, but rather to generate hypotheses about important questions
when resources are not yet available and other research methods are
not possible.”

Terry Gordon, a professor in NYU’s Department of Environmental
Medicine, referred to the toxicology study as both “strange” and
“interesting.” He too cited methodological issues, including the lack
of a baseline for local levels of uranium. (The study compared levels
in Fallujah to those in southern Israel, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, and
Slovenia.) Several of the experts challenged the study’s conclusion
that the discovery of mutagens can be indisputably linked to a rise in
cancers. Zelikoff explained that the study does not address the lack
of information about duration or amounts of exposure. Gordon also
noted that, “While congenital effects can be seen after such short
term exposures, it is unlikely that cancers would be elevated 6 or 7
years after the war.” Toniolo was critical of the statement that the
goal of this second study was to determine “the cause of the increased
risk” and its specific connection to U.S. weaponry deployed during the
war. “This is a statement that most scientists would not have the guts
to make. One cannot determine the cause of anything.”

Despite the serious problems with Busby’s findings, the respondents
generally agreed that the studies should not be dismissed but instead
should be regarded as prompts for more investigation and attention to
the issue

Further Investigation

Unfortunately, the situation in Fallujah today makes further
investigation difficult. The Fallujah Hospital is understaffed and
lacking in research capacity. The Shia-dominated Iraqi government has
not made studies of health risks in Fallujah, a center of the
Sunni-based insurgency, a priority.

According to Busby, his own team had barely completed gathering their
data when the government declared them terrorists and threatened to
jail anyone who responded to further questionnaires. For obvious
reasons, the U.S. Defense Department isn’t lining up to support any
further study of the issue and routinely rejects or ignores any claim
that there is a serious health crisis in Fallujah or that the U.S.
military is responsible for it.

In November 2009, British and Iraqi doctors petitioned the UN to
investigate the cause of Fallujah’s health crisis. In response, the
World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to conduct its own
investigation, although it too has been delayed. A WHO representative
in Iraq said the delay was due to changes in methodological design and
informed me that the Iraqi Ministry of Health will gather data from
households in 18 districts from January-February 2012. Meanwhile, the
United States has simply dismissed the petitions as “anecdotal” and
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