Anti-Israel agitator-cum-journalist Robert Fisk has a habit of fabricating stories about Israeli atrocities. Recently, he speculates that Israel has developed and used a "secret new uranium-based weapon" in Lebanon this summer "Mystery of Israel's Secret Uranium Bomb," Oct. 28, 2006, Fisk cites alleged results of tests on soil samples collected from bomb craters in Lebanon. These tests were conducted by Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk — a group of scientists who believe that internal radiation emitters, especially depleted uranium (DU), are the main cause of the world wide cancer "epidemic."
Fisk's piece reads like science fiction — and apparently it was. Experts from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a statement on November 8, stating that they had found:
no evidence of penetrators or metal made of DU or other radioactive material. In addition, no DU shrapnel, or other radioactive residue was found. The analysis of all smear samples taken shows no DU, nor enriched Uranium nor higher than natural uranium content in the samples.
I had been following this since it originally began being bantered about. Fisk's 'evidence' is all garnered from the work of a Chris Busby, presumably a physicist specialising in Uranium, and a member of the Green Party.
The following 2 web pages lay out his methodology in relation to an argument with a detractor named Dan Fahey, also apparently someone with impressive letters behind his name.
On the second page "breakingwinds2" [is he trying to tell us something?, lol], Busby explains his methodology and claims he found, NOT depleted uranium, but ! ENRICHED URANIUM.
Mr Busby says on the same page: "The air filter results will appear shortly. ....We still have some of this sample and are conducting further tests e.g. U-236. .....And as you will discover shortly, it is also elsewhere in the country."
4. Both methods showed the presence of ENRICHED URANIUM. This was unexpected. Dan Fahey has accused us of finding what we set out to find. This is untrue. We set out to look for DU on the basis of what we knew about the radiation levels reported. We actually found EU.
5..It is now suggested that the Enriched Uranium is ‘only slightly enriched’. This is untrue. We do not know what the level of enrichment is, since we are looking at a soil sample which would have had normal uranium present. If we allow for that the enrichment ratio is about 100 which is the input mix that can be used for some nuclear reactors.
We are of course waiting with bated breath for the further results, as rumours fly faster than bullets around here.
In the meantime, Fisk and others have lost no time in spreading the story, true to the old adage that a lie will get halfway around the world before the truth gets its shoes on. If you don't believe it, Google it You will even find this story! Confirmed: Israel Nuked Lebanon!
But is it true? The skeptic delves.
The first debunking article I found was this one: http://www.laka.org/info/publicaties/vu/2006-lebanon-eng.html
Press release, Amsterdam, 12th October, 2006
Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions used in Lebanon?
In order to verify or to falsify the assertions that DU has been used, Henk van der Keur from the Laka Foundation brought a visit to Lebanon as part of a delegation from the Amsterdam based organisation Dromen, Denk, Durven, Doen (Dreaming, Thinking, to Dare, to Do), among others working on human rights issues and questions on the Middle East.
At his home Kobeissi had collected tens of samples from shrapnel and soil from more than 50 different places. None of these samples measured a higher radiation dose rate than the background radiation dose rate. The samples were measured with a calibrated geiger counter from Laka Foundation.
In short, there is no reason to believe that DU weaponry has been used by Israel during the July/August 2006 war.
So, so far we have the UN, and a human rights group using scientific methods and not being able to find this enriched uranium at all!
Then the other day this:
Lebanese Scientist: Southern Lebanon Radiation-Free
12:46 Nov 03, '06 / 12 Cheshvan 5767
(IsraelNN.com) There are no signs of radiation as a result of IDF bombing the war against Hizbullah terrorists, a Lebanese scientist has told Voice of Lebanon radio. "We stick to the fact that uranium-based munitions were not used during the recent war; we have not detected any radiation proving the presence of depleted uranium," said Mouin Hamzeh, president the National Council for Scientific Research.
Hizbullah terrorists, environmental and human rights groups have claimed that samples of bombed out craters showed high radiation levels.
And finally, while I am no nuclear scientist, there is a common-sense analysis of the issue here at the shlemazl blog, along with some excellent comments on the Fisk article.
So, now we have the UN, and a human rights group, and the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon and none are able to find this uranium at all! Those who claim, with Busby and the world of anti-Israel bloggers, that Israel "nuked" Lebanon have not a whit more evidence to advance their 'cause'. Meanwhile we are hoping that Mr Busby will hurry with his further evidence, or in lieu of that, acknowledge his errors in the first one, so that Mr Fisk and others can correct the record.