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Saturday, February 07, 2009


On Monday I wrote about the BBC Radio Scotland phone in on all those previously un-scarified nuclear sites in Scotland like Dalgety Bay & um er. My part in the phone in was arguably won by the SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) by saying that the radiation there couldn't be natural but must have come from radium paint on the dials of bombers left there in 1945 & this had been proven by tests showing the presence of radium, which does not occur even in submicroscopic quantities in nature & that the submicroscopic particles had been identified as paint.

I emailed SEPA asking where the results of the tests had been published & for figures for the overall radiation level detected there & on adjoining beaches. Getting no response I did so twice more mentioning the Freedom of Information Act. This got a message assuring me that this email had been sent to me, but had apparently got lost in the electronic post?
Good morning

Various reports on Dalgety Bay have been published on the the radioactive substances pages of the SEPA website. There has also been press releases on the news pages. In case you have problems finding them here's the links: ;
Not quite as informative as I had asked for but replied
Having had a look at your Dalgety Bay Risk Assessment Report on (pdf) I note that the nearest to a reference to the alleged proof by scientific testing & finding of paint forming these particles was in section 7:1 saying "The radium contamination at Dalgety bay is believed to have originated from historic MOD operations", going on to explain what type of paint was used at the time. "Belief" is clearly at variance with the claim by the SEPA representative on the radio that it had been proven by scientific tests.

I note also that contrary to the stated word of the SEPA representative that the fact that what was alleged to be radium radiation had been detected & that this proved it was artificial "
Radium-226 is a decay product of the natural uranium-238 decay chain. It is present in all rocks and soils in variable amounts."

While I would not, under any circumstances wish to suggest that what the gentleman said represented anything other than the very highest standard of honesty to which the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency aspires it must be obvious that the evidence you have so far presented points to both the claim that paint had been found & that the material could only be of artificial, rather than natural in origin because of the presence of radium being in no way whatsoever truthful.

If you wish to maintain that you have evidence of such chemical proof that the particles were paint I must ask you to provide it by return. If not, the assumption must be that notwithstanding it being as honest as you aspire to the claim is in no way truthful. Equally if you wish to claim that the government factsheet is wrong & the material does not occur naturally the same applies

If so journalistic integrity would require the BBC to prominently acknowledge the inaccuracy on air, presumably at the end of Monday's programme.
with a copy to the BBC & a follow up letter to them asking for a correction on Monday at the end of the programme just before 10AM.

Obviously SEPA have not replied & it seems certain that they did indeed merely assume the "belief" that the radiation was artificial & have made no attempt whatsoever to carry out the chemical tests they gave their word to the people of Scotland they had carried out. Since we are talking about particles far too small to see the question of whether they could be chemically analysed as promised was always dubious. Since SEPA declined, both here & on the radio, to give figures for tha radiation level there & on adjoining beaches the assumption must be that it does not exceed what might occur naturally.

In other words this whole exercise, including site examinations & 60 page reports, likely to have cost millions, is a corrupt eco-fascist empire building scam, likely to induce hysteria & get SEPA more money. The effect on the local community & tourist industry is a matter of indifference to these liars.

This is typical of taxpayer funded "environmentalist" claims.

The BBC if honest journalists would, certainly wish to correct this lie. However since they have previously been happy state that windmills provide cheap electricity, that sea level rise has already flooded out a major river estuary, that 17,000 children are hospitalised annually with passive smoking, that they have no responsibility to produce "balanced" reporting of alleged warming, on a different subject that they have lied continuously over the so called Srebrenica Massacre, about the alleged rape camps in Bosnia, about the Bosnian ex-Nazi leader being a "moderate" & censoring any mention of the massacres, genocide, & child sex slavery in Kosovo & the censorship of our "police" kidnapping thousands of Serb teens & dissecting them, while still alive for our hospitals.

In all these cases there is no question whatsoever that the BBC have deliberately lied & censored, and maintained these lies & censorship in the face of undisputed proof that that is what they were. I'm not even counting normal spin or ridiculous nonsense like "Al Gore is a climate scientist." This was done to support the state manufacturing of "hobgoblins to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led" in an undeniably fascist & pro-Nazi direction. That being the case the chances they will tell the truth on Monday morning seems slight.

I will let you know.

UPSATE - Well guess what the BBC didn't correct the lie. They did do a short item an hour earlier about newspapers printing stories that are untrue & the Press Complaints system being inadequate. They havem't replied to my email either.

Neil, keep up the good work!

But I am confused, does radium occur naturally or not? Notwithstanding that the MOD has been responsible for a lot of pollution, it strikes me as ridiculous to claim that a whole bay has been made radioactive from a few ounces of mildly radioactive paint that may or may not have been left there sixty years ago. What's the half life of that stuff?

BTW, can you turn off comment moderation please?
My understanding is that radium occurs from the breakdown of uranium but since its half life is 1,600 years & uranium's is millions there is always bound to be relatively little of it. The Curies had to refine out many many tons of pitchblende to find a tiny amount of natural radium - but they did find it. If a high proportion of the radioactivity here really were proven to come from radium that would be strong evidence but uranium molecules also give it off & I am now unwilling, without evidence, to believe assertions that it was all radium.
The BBC if honest journalists would, certainly wish to correct this lie.

What lie? The BBC reported on 30 January:

Row over radiation beach research

Dalgety Bay was the site of a World War II airfield... The Ministry of Defence has criticised the monitoring of radiation hotspots on a Fife beach, carried out by environment watchdog Sepa.

It would appear the BBC carried a balanced story 7 days before you began frothing about it here.
Try reading what is written before criticising. The things I said the BBC lied about are listed & linked & if you have some evidence that there really are 17,000 children in hospital suffering from passive smoking show your evidence. Otherwise the BBC did lie.

I said that SEPA lied in claiming to have tested the particles & proven them to be paint. Whether the BBC will become complicit in that lie by refusing to broadcast the truth tomorrow at 10 is something we cannot know for sure but it is apparent it is your guess they won't.
A quick Google search reveals, firstly, from The Sunday Herald which gives an overview of the issue at:

Dalgety Bay awash with radioactive military waste

ONE of Scotland's most popular coastal resorts, used by thousands of families every year, is badly contaminated with radioactive waste dumped by an old military base, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

But in a move which has frustrated the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), angered experts and infuriated local residents, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is refusing to take responsibility for cleaning it up...

According to government advisers, people who come into contact with the contamination could receive doses of radiation in breach of official safety limits. There is a danger of skin burns and, at worst, an increased risk of cancer.

Dalgety Bay was surveyed by Babcock Engineering Services of Rosyth during March this year. A copy of the report summarising the survey results was released by Sepa last week in response to a request from the Sunday Herald.

Radioactive contamination up to 48 times higher than normal levels was found at 97 separate locations on the foreshore, the report said. It also disclosed that an unpublished survey in 2002 had detected contamination at 93 locations, and another in 2000 had found 80 hotspots....

The community council will be calling for the contamination to be removed as soon as possible. Council chairman, Colin McPhail said: "The community is tired of this matter not being properly dealt with."

His son, Sandy McPhail, is a leading member of the Dalgety Bay Sailing Club, which is by far the biggest user of the contaminated foreshore. The old aircraft dials and propeller pieces he has found have convinced him the MoD is to blame.

"The risk shouldn't be blown out of proportion, but it is a risk, " he said. "And it's because someone did something wrong 50 years ago."

Fife Council and the Scottish Executive both stressed that the risk to the public was low. It was "disappointing" that radiation levels had not reduced, said an Executive spokesman, but the situation was being monitored.

Secondly from NHS Fife, confirming that the material is in discrete lumps so it's not background radiation and easily identifiable, together with an evaluation of the nature of the risk from the material.

In the light of this, what exactly are you complaining about? Do you know? Why can't you carry out an elementary search for such background material yourself?
Well firstly & to repeat I am complaining that SEPA's entire case relies on their claim to have scientifically identified the material as paint. Quite obviously they haven't & nothing in your report says otherwise.

Again the 2nd link says only that it is "believed" to come from paint. No figures for radiation levels are given "up to 48 times background" is meaningless newspaper spin since that starts at background. What your 2nd link actually says is that "many are relatively large lumps of clinker like material several centimetres in diamater" which is quite definitely not flecks of paint but could be volcanic in origin in which case it would be expected to be relatively radioactive - but could be chemically analysed if SEPA thought this would prove their point.

The fact is that what you have produced supports my case not yours & unless you can find something showing where results of a scientific test for paint have proven that it is paint I am sure you will continue to do so.
The Herald article is also clearly lying when it says Sandy found "The old aircraft dials" lying on the shore - had he done so & them containing radium they would tend to be rather larger submicroscopic particles & lumps of clinker several cm in size unless WW2 bombers had excessively small dials. More evidence of the willingness of the MSM to lie, without compunction, & that the story depends on such lies.
I attempted to post this yesterday but it hasn't appeared. Presumably an oversight since you decry censorship of any kind so loudly.

I don't have to be bound by your argument in any way. You are trying desperately to make a mountain out of a molehill. Like every other conspiracy theorist/denialist you seek to make capital out of minor disagreements between texts from different sources. You don't have test results on paint so you'll plug away at that while ignoring all the other evidence. The links I have put up indictate that this Bay has been contaminated by the residue of scrapped aircraft and that everybody, including the MOD accept that. End of story.
If you are saying that I am wrong in what i said you really ought to consider yourself bound to showing in what way i am wrong in what I said not in saying I would have been wrong ifi had said something else.

In any case there is no scientific evidence that that it was paint. There is unequivocal evidence that SEPA are willing to lie ie they did.

You have presented no evidence that the MOD have said this is their contamination - quite the contrary. Perhaps you would care to produce it.
I think this covers your request and also confirms the material is radium and that it is in the form of clinker or ash:

MoD admits: old war planes contaminated Dalgety Bay

Radioactive contamination in the area was accidentally discovered in 1990 by a monitoring team from Rosyth naval dockyard. Since then intermittent surveys have been carried out, leading to the removal of 23 drums of radioactive waste to Rosyth.

Last year a firm of consultants commissioned by the MoD's Defence Estates carried out the most detailed and intrusive investigation so far of the extent of the contamination inland. Their final report was posted last week on the website of the government's Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

High levels of radium-226, beaming out 21 becquerels of radioactivity per gram, were discovered in "ashy materials" in the gardens of two private homes. Four other properties in the same street, The Wynd, are suspected of having similar contamination, as well as possibly three other homes on Sealstrand and The Spinneys.

All these houses cover an area where the radium dials were thought to have been salvaged and burnt. If the contamination is as widespread as experts believe, residents could be exposed to radiation above the Health Protection Criterion (HPC) for radioactively contaminated land agreed by the Scottish and UK governments.

"The results of the preliminary risk assessment indicate that residents of properties located on the former salvage section footprint may be exposed to doses in excess of the HPC," the report concludes.

Even further, if you go to a link on the SEPA site:

you can find both the draft 2008 report and the 2006 report. In the 2006 survey (which you have already cited), at Sections 3.3 Survey Results and 3.4 Laboratory Analysis (pp 14 to 16), you will find that the material is radium and its daughter products.

These two reports together make it clear that the radium appears in a level much higher than nature in an area where it is almost certain the it is the product of the disposal of aircraft, specifically from the radioactive paint from instrument dials.

This level of probability is probably why the MOD has accepted responsibility, see

Dalgety Bay remediation – SEPA's response to Defence Estates proposals

Colin Bayes, SEPA's Director of environmental protection, said:

"I am pleased to note that the Ministry of Defence has recognised that it has a responsibility to take remedial action to reduce radiation exposures at Dalgety Bay..."
Well no. Ifv this is your evidence that the MOD have admited culpability it merely proves they haven't. Nothing is actually quoted from what the MOD say. The wording of the first article doesn't claim it - it is merely the headline which makes that claim & the fact that a newspaper headline says something which the article doesn't support is hardly unusual. Ditto the fact that SEPA states, as fact, that the MOD have admitted culpability doesn't prove it true, it merely proves it to be the standard of honesty to which SEPA aspire. The MOD would actually have to say it for them to have said it.
Your answer is quite absurd. You have absolutely no proof that the MOD have not accepted responsibility and two independent sources that say they have. Your tactic is clearly to keep raising the bar of proof you require in the hope it cannot be met.

You have lost the argument. Get over it.
Well no thats what "admitting" means. If the MOD have publicly "admitted" something it would be in the public record otherwise it wouldn't be an admission.

I am certain you have searched diligently for any such admission & found none.

Incidentally your use of the term "2 independent sources" is disingenous. Certainly they are independent of the MOD, which does not enhance their ability to speak for it, but they are not independent of each other since the herald story clearly came from SEPA.
Please see:

"Call to clear radioactive beach

The community council said it wants the shoreline cleared by the Ministry of Defence (MoD)within a year...

An MoD spokesman said work already done included decontamination of gardens in The Wynd.

He added: "There is more work still to do, but all parties are focused on agreeing a way forward together, and finding solutions to clear the contamination."

"all parties are focussed on a way forward" - I take it that anodyne comment is the very best you can do. Perhaps you could mention something somewhere in the world in which those invilved claim not to want to go forward.

I take it Norman that we can accept that your claim that the MOD have admitted liability is merely your very highest standard of honesty.
"I take it Norman that we can accept that your claim that the MOD have admitted liability is merely your very highest standard of honesty."

Ah, Mr Craig, this phrase usually means that youv'e had enough and any further attempt by me to comment will be censored. I do hope that you have the honesty not to do that.

Leaving aside the question of honesty, the main issue here is the standard of proof applied in an argument. The test I am using in this one is The Balance of Probabilities, a legal test of evidence used daily by the civil courts. A brief explanation can be found here:

In essence the standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true. Effectively, the standard is satisfied if there is greater than 50 percent chance that the proposition is true.

In this particular case I have quoted three sources to advance the case that the MOD has admitted liability for the radiation at Dalgety Bay. We can assume that the Sunday Herald article has been fact-checked and the paper has certainly not printed a retraction under MOD pressure. The BBC article quotes an MOD source to confirm that they are co-operating in the clean-up. I suggest to you that the MOD are unlikely to be spending money on this if they do not accept liability. The article from SEPA states the MOD accept liability. We can assume that they have been in correspondence with the MOD and would be unlikely to put out a public statement which the MOD could take legal action against. In the absence of an explicit MOD statement (which I cannot find), it is thus much more probable that the MOD has accepted liability for the Dalgety Bay radiation than they have not.

Moreover, it is a legal axiom that he who asserts must prove. That means that the burden of proof switches to you to prove that the MOD have not accepted liability. Good luck.

This is not a dishonest argument, it simply applies techniques that recognise that evidence is not always explicit.
The only points on which I have ever censored you were when you decided to go PURELY for personal abuse, having run out of any form of fact based argument. You have not yet reached that stage this time.

Firstly on the balance of probabilities argument - the fact that you are completely unable to find any public instance of the MOD acknowledging they dunnit, when you have all the resources of Google is a very strong piece of evidence that they have made no such public announcement.

Secondly your assertiion that when you make a assertiion (in this case that the MOD said something) the onus is on everybody else to disprove it is false to every rule of logic.

You are making the specific assertion - you produce the proof. In any case you know perfectly well that it is impossible to disprove a non-specific claim - for example that there is a mutant space goat somewhere in the Galaxy heading in our direction, or that there remains, in hiding, a member of the LibDems, somewhere, who honestly believe your policy of a 2p income tax cut was meant sincerely, or even could have been. For philosophical reasons which I explained in my article on Occam's Razor the default position is that such an assertion should be dismissed unless there is a clear balance of evidence supporting it. You have produced none.
Given the amount of personal abuse you indulge in on this site your assertion that you only censor for abuse is hypocritical as well as untrue.

Your response also cuts to the heart of your main intellectual problem, your inability to evaluate evidence sensibly. Whether you like it or not, the test of balance of probabilities is one used in the real world.

The fact is that you have not even stated what proof you will accept. I suspect the answer is none. By all means invent a new standard for evaluating evidence, one where you always win the argument, but do not expect people to take you seriously.

I hope you will have the honesty to post this too but I doubt it.
Well obviously a statement on the MOD site, or failing that something elsewhere giving verbatim actual quotes from would be the sort of evidence one would normally want.

What sort of evidence would you expect me to produce before you would accept it as true that Nick Clegg & Tavish Scott had issued a joint statement saying that the LDs were wholly corrupt, producing alleged policies purely to get votes & without the remotest intention of ever keeping them, merely engaging in corrupt personal pork barreling for their own friends & meanwhile personally enjoying the feeling of being genocidal mass murderers.

We may both know that this is indeed their practice but to believe they had actually publicly admitted it would require something more than one of their political enemies saying they heard something along those lines - wouldn't it?
I have just received a comment from the anon above who is Mr Norman Fraser, who, as Party Secretary & Glorious Leader of Maryhill LibDems (6 people including me on a good day)produced the document saying that I should be expelled from the LibDems because supporting lower taxes & not wanting the lights to go out was "to right wing" & ultimately "illiberal". He has clearly never forgiven me for his successful role in this party purge even though, or perhaps because the present incarnation of the Maryhill party seems not to know of him.

He has regularly posted here as Anon, to which I have no objection despite the one sided nature of his postings - real debate can be valuable. However in each case he has run out of genuine criticisms & ended up with insults & obscenities & I do not believe free speech requires me to indulge him. There are several LD blogs which have censored me purely for making factual points & where his views would presumably be welcome.

Norman to completely irelevantly accuse a 3rd party of being an "arsewipe" may now be the level of discussion to which the LibDems aspire but it is not mine. I await your apology.
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