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Anti-nuclear firebrand’s case heads to Canadian court over death threats against Fukushima environmental scientists

by

Staff Writer

An activist who alleges a global cover-up over the extent of pollution from the Fukushima No. 1 disaster is due in court in Victoria, Canada, on Wednesday over threats he allegedly made against the lives of two environmental scientists.

Dana Durnford is charged with two counts of criminal harassment for online videos attacking researchers Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and Jay Cullen of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

In expletive-laden recordings available until recently on the Internet, Durnford rails against the pair and other leading scientists and calls for their deaths.

“Every university, every academic, every nuclear scientist will be hunted down and f—-ing murdered,” he declares in one video. “We want you dead.”

Durnford alleges a conspiracy by corporations and academics to cover up radioactive damage from the Fukushima plant in the oceans off Canada.

Neither Buesseler nor Cullen could be reached for comment.

A third individual involved in the study of radiation from the plant also reported receiving death threats from Durnford. That scientist declined to be quoted for this report.

Buesseler and Cullen are respected environmental researchers whose studies of radioactive particles in seawater show material from the plant on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture has limited impact when diluted in the ocean. One study shows that radioactive particles are undetectable in fish in the eastern Pacific.

Durnford disagrees. He has a following on the Internet, where he rails against mainstream scientific researchers in videos apparently recorded from his couch and kitchen.

“They are liars, they are mass murderers, they are the most disgusting part of our society,” he declares in one video.

The case touches on a type of fringe activism that is frequently a counterpart to rationally argued debate.

Mark Lynas, a writer and environmental campaigner based in Oxford, England, says criminal harassment of the kind alleged is “all too common.”

“This extreme is where the environmental movement goes pathological,” Lynas said. “Some activists are so ideologically blinkered in their attitude to things like nuclear power that in essence their worldview is faith-based, and they cannot conceive of the possibility of any scientific evidence challenging their worldview.”

Lynas said such activists tend to find that anything contradicting their belief that radiation is uniquely dangerous is evidence of a criminal conspiracy. He underscored that he was not commenting on the specifics of this case.

Since his arrest and release on bail, Durnford has posted a new video in which he asks for money to help pay his legal fees. He complains of bail conditions that require him to purge videos and comments from the Internet.

“I’m exposing people for committing crimes. How am I the bad person?” he says.

  • robrob

    Durnford disagrees. He has been up and down the Canadian west coast these past months documenting the tide pools from a crowd funded 25 ft Zodiac Life boat….they are all devoid of the rich life that should still be there (according to the experts.) The Science is now meaningless as offered.

  • A Green Road

    Just curious… did your paper ever interview Dana and ask him why he is so angry? Maybe he is actually finding something that would cause this level of frustration and despair. Why is it is easy to dismiss someone who spent their whole life on the ocean, and who has thousands of hours of documented evidence around the death of the Pacific and sterilization of the coastline? True journalism is about showing BOTH sides of the issue. This article seems to be assassinating his character and denying he found anything worth talking about.

    QUOTE BY DR GOFMAN MD PHD

    “Licensing a nuclear power plant is in my view, licensing random premeditated murder. First of all, when you license a plant, you know what you’re doing—so it’s premeditated. You can’t say, “I didn’t know.” Second, the evidence on radiation-producing cancer is beyond doubt. I’ve worked fifteen years on it [as of 1982], and so have many others. It is not a question any more: radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses.”

    • neutrino

      What Green Road is saying is Durnford has just cause to call for murder. What you guys need to do is advocate for changing the laws that prohibit inciting violence. Until you achieve your barbarian utopia, you should abide by current laws.

    • Ace

      There’s plenty of youtube videos made by Dana, and about Dana, that demonstrated his anger towards others and the establishment long before the triple meltdown.

    • Starviking

      Why is it is easy to dismiss someone who spent their whole life on the ocean, and who has thousands of hours of documented evidence around the death of the Pacific and sterilization of the coastline? True journalism is about showing BOTH sides of the issue.

      It’s easy to dismiss Dana’s work because it ignores reality. Death and devastation on the Pacific Coast of North America, no problems on the Pacific Coast of Japan? If events were unfolding as he said, marine biologists would be flocking to the NA Pacific Coast – they’re not. Scientific journals, newspapers, and TV stations would be reporting on it – they’re not.

      This “report BOTH sides of the issue” rubbish is the same tactic as that used by climate deniers – they know their “science” is crap, so they appeal for “balance”. True journalists have a duty to report the facts – not bilge like Dana’s crazy ramblings.

    • https://atoms4ca.tumblr.com Atoms for California

      “Why is it is easy to dismiss someone” who makes public death threats? Because death threats are illegal. In general, there is a stigma around criminal behavior. A social taboo, you might say. Furthermore, use of violence specifically to promote an idea has been frowned upon since the Enlightenment, or so.

    • Bob Smithers

      Because he is an idiot. And now, the court system is going to smack him on the head, for being an IDIOT

    • 3GSimpleton

      I find it quite easy to dismiss raving lunatics.

    • greenthinker2012

      “sterilization of the coastline” ?!?!
      GRP…your comment pretty much sums up your hyperbolic, evidence-free bull.
      I live on the west coast and the ocean and coastline is still amazingly fecund. Every nook and cranny is brimming with life.
      I scuba dive regularly and we have some of the most beautiful and abundant undersea life in the world.
      I know you feel compelled to just make stuff up and tell scary stories, but this is even too low for your regular “standards”.
      Anyone reading this can simply ask someone they know on the west coast to look out their window and report what they see.
      If there is a threat to our oceans, it comes from ocean acidification and warming caused by fossil fuel burning.
      Nuclear power is a powerful tool that can replace fossil fuels.

  • GBR48

    Rational argument, scientific analysis and political discussion are fine. Death threats cross the line. They have no place in civil society and are quite rightly a serious offence. Anyone who makes threats in such a manner deserves to go to prison. He is damaging the credibility of the anti-nuclear lobby and environmental movement. He is not a martyr. He is an idiot for failing to moderate his behaviour within civilised boundaries.

    If you want someone to listen to what you have to say, don’t shout, don’t swear, don’t use ALL CAPS and don’t make threats.

  • Al_Martinezz

    People like Durnford are just as bad as creationists. Unfortunately, you have people like Harvey Wasserman who have made their careers feeding off anti-science nuts like Durnford, and exacerbate the situation with non-science-based claims.

  • Starviking

    Have to wonder at the fear-mongering picture accompanying this article – radioactive contamination suits at Fukushima – is JT trying to subtly take the side of the nutter in this article?

    People might also be interested in the postings of Prof. Cullen on Daily Kos. He goes under the name of “MarineChemist” there, and covers a lot of the scientific research on Fukushima’s effect on the environment.

  • Starviking

    Have to wonder at the fear-mongering picture accompanying this article – radioactive contamination suits at Fukushima – is JT trying to subtly take the side of the nutter in this article?

    People might also be interested in the postings of Prof. Cullen on Daily Kos. He goes under the name of “MarineChemist” there, and covers a lot of the scientific research on Fukushima’s effect on the environment.

  • Janine Baldwin

    nuclearism is fascism yes u can surmise we want them dead , no one that deaminizes Dana has a clue who he is or what he has contributed , the horrific truth will not set any of u scap goats free as the assault is on all of us as Canada has forced all of you to drink fukushema isotopes at a rate that u are all walking dead men , that is how much the professionals care about u

  • Janine Baldwin

    nuclearism is fascism yes u can surmise we want them dead , no one that deaminizes Dana has a clue who he is or what he has contributed , the horrific truth will not set any of u scap goats free as the assault is on all of us as Canada has forced all of you to drink fukushema isotopes at a rate that u are all walking dead men , that is how much the professionals care about u

  • Sean Mcgee

    How about a story of nuclear workers from the US who are hells angels
    who were involved in recent bloogbath in Texas that resulted in Killing?

    This blogger is only small fry amongst the many decent activists, he has a small following whose fan numbers of 18,000 are dubious .. real fringe material.. Its like saying that all nuclear engineers are as incompetant as the scientists who caused the Windscale nuclear accident (now rebranded Sellafield) ..
    There are many blogs and comments attacking and challenging Dana Durnford.. Look them up!

  • agileprovocateur

    I am Dana Durnford you never called me 604-223-0763 and asked for my side before you attempted to destroy me and why the hell do you care what I said ??? you never reported on my 5 fukushima expeditions did you !! you never reported I covered 15,000 miles of coast lines did you !! you never mentioned that I took 10s of 1000s of pictures underwater footage 260 days on the ocean in one year did you !! as documentation that is at my site thenuclearproctologist did you !! . People need to realize Japan Times took a 5 second clip from a one hour video presentation on fukushima and used that to demonize me in public without telling people its 8 seconds from a 1 hour fukuahima video full of documentation . The writer has never even covered nuclear or fukushima yet claims I am somehow violent using a tiny clip completely out of context is heartbreaking that cowards like you exist . Fortunately a ex Japan Times editor has spoken out . Fukushima’s Political Fallout Puts Anti-nuke Researcher On Trial By Yoichi Shimatsu .

  • Ace

    Google “Dana Durnford RMCP” to get an idea of what type of person he is. Many of the links show Dana before he became an “activist”. The real question is why did Youtube only take action by making a strike against his account for violating its community guidelines AFTER his arrest. He’s been making video spouting vitriol against others for as long as he’s been on youtube.

  • simpleman56

    I think most just except what the corporate owned MSM says, they don’t their own research or look up the Truth for themselves & depent a corrupt MSM owned by the very corporations/shareholders of nuclear power plants, waste sites.weapons makers & never have viewed the before & after photos & videos made by Dan r locals who have watched their lively hoods & local food sources vanish or become so sick they cover the beaches & shore lines from Akasaka to Mexico.
    Dan has a passion of a diver ofr all the life that he & all the divers were use too having contact with 10 hours a day & now they are are gone, this would pee me off also if the nuke industry with the massive funding to shut people up because this is billions on income to each sharehold stands to lose if & when the News Black Out if lifted & the TRUTH of all the Illegal waste Dumps like in St Louis & the Black out set up for Japan news & reporters is lifted, then what, you get the Truth that never before has there been such a seious emergy of 3 full melt downs of nuke reactors on any coast in the world & N American & all point across the Atlantic lay in the path & all Oceans also, also inland water ways, lake, streams, plus the Jet Stream carries over 200 forms of Man Made Radiation Particles, some with short half life some that last millions of years & it only takes one particale to give cancer or Man Made related illness that will end lives early, add on Monsanto’s food’s & your immune sytem is shot to hell.
    Dana is mad I don’t blame him, just testing for C137 by no means tells the Truth, Pu & Uranium even at low rates is worse that a single high dose, so why go after a man in a momute of being pissed off at the lack of True reporting by our Paid Agencies be it in the US or Canda has many ticked off at the waste of money these agencies have gone thru only to report golbal warming all to raise your taxes & has nothing to do with the true science that has proved all these Al Gore’s wrong but get no where when the Corporations Own the MSM, Congress, the higher eds & the scientist they employe.
    I hope Dana walks away a free man & these one who pass laws to protect this industry are exposed & have to facee the Rule of they are not subject to as you & I am, they can Lie at will, steal at will, but if you did it, the time in Jail would not make you a happy person, for telling the TRUTH because the Truth is not allowed in the court today!
    Let Dana be free, let his work become known world wide, the before & after photos are time stamped & last, if that Whale that Starved to death could talk, I think it would say you are fools & will see the same as I & so many of my fellow Whales & the food chain that we lost due to Fukushima & the Nuke Industry who could not get passed page 7 in what to do after 3 major ongoing Melt Downs & one plant blown into the Jet Stream that keeps going around the world like a meery go round dropping all that MOX Fuel on your crops, land, homes, rivers & lakes, what are going to do know, build more or change for the children of this planet!?
    Peace

  • Sam Gilman

    Although Durnford is extreme in the violence of his language, the views he espouses are not actually that far from many prominent figures in the mainstream anti-nuclear movement.

    Theories of a global conspiracy of silence have been common for years in the movement, whether it’s the claim that the World Health Organisation suppresses research, or that the Japanese government has made it illegal to talk about Fukushima, or even straying into New World Order and anti-semitic territory (such as Takashi Hirose – frequently quoted in the aftermath of Fukushima (Japan Times included), despite being notorious as the author of a book asserting a Jewish conspiracy over Chernobyl. In Dana Durnford’s case, he is a regular collaborator with Jeff Rense.).

    Preposterous claims too are part and parcel of the movement. Dana Durnford claims the Pacific has been rendered dead by radiation. A short while back we had the insane predictions of the anti-nuclear movement regarding the fuel pools (Helen Caldicott claimed that problems with the fuel pools at Fukushima might mean she would have to evacuate from, er, Boston.), while senior members Joe Mangano and Janette Sherman of the Tooth Fairy Project published claims of 15,000 babies being killed in the US by Fukushima in the months immediately after March 2011. Chris Busby claims there will be 200,000 extra cancers (but he also claims that government workers are spreading radioactive material all over Japan to cover up regional cancer differences!). Heaven knows what Arnie Gundersen is claiming now. Perhaps more worrying is the trend for them to blame what are clearly the effects of global warming on ocean life on Fukushima. This should be roundly condemned by environmentalists, but sadly isn’t. Too many environmentalists lack the courage to stand up to these people.

    Although these people are frequently portrayed by certain media outlets as brave oppositionists speaking truth to power, all they actually do is provide paranoia and misinformation. And, in so, so many cases, one of those nice little “donate” buttons on their websites. Their contribution to the recovery from the Fukushima crisis and the tsunami more generally has been negative. On the other hand, the work of people such as Jay Cullen has been a great positive. Not because of his results showing the oceans are safe, but because he provides sound, reliable information to the best of his honest ability. Alas, the atmosphere of paranoia and fantasy created by the anti-nuclear movement leads to situations where a scientist doing his job gets death threats.

  • Sam Gilman

    Although Durnford is extreme in the violence of his language, the views he espouses are not actually that far from many prominent figures in the mainstream anti-nuclear movement.

    Theories of a global conspiracy of silence have been common for years in the movement, whether it’s the claim that the World Health Organisation suppresses research, or that the Japanese government has made it illegal to talk about Fukushima, or even straying into New World Order and anti-semitic territory (such as Takashi Hirose – frequently quoted in the aftermath of Fukushima (Japan Times included), despite being notorious as the author of a book asserting a Jewish conspiracy over Chernobyl. In Dana Durnford’s case, he is a regular collaborator with Jeff Rense.).

    Preposterous claims too are part and parcel of the movement. Dana Durnford claims the Pacific has been rendered dead by radiation. A short while back we had the insane predictions of the anti-nuclear movement regarding the fuel pools (Helen Caldicott claimed that problems with the fuel pools at Fukushima might mean she would have to evacuate from, er, Boston.), while senior members Joe Mangano and Janette Sherman of the Tooth Fairy Project published claims of 15,000 babies being killed in the US by Fukushima in the months immediately after March 2011. Chris Busby claims there will be 200,000 extra cancers (but he also claims that government workers are spreading radioactive material all over Japan to cover up regional cancer differences!). Heaven knows what Arnie Gundersen is claiming now. Perhaps more worrying is the trend for them to blame what are clearly the effects of global warming on ocean life on Fukushima. This should be roundly condemned by environmentalists, but sadly isn’t. Too many environmentalists lack the courage to stand up to these people.

    Although these people are frequently portrayed by certain media outlets as brave oppositionists speaking truth to power, all they actually do is provide paranoia and misinformation. And, in so, so many cases, one of those nice little “donate” buttons on their websites. Their contribution to the recovery from the Fukushima crisis and the tsunami more generally has been negative. On the other hand, the work of people such as Jay Cullen has been a great positive. Not because of his results showing the oceans are safe, but because he provides sound, reliable information to the best of his honest ability. Alas, the atmosphere of paranoia and fantasy created by the anti-nuclear movement leads to situations where a scientist doing his job gets death threats.

  • Sam Gilman

    The irony of your relying on rense dot com to fulfill Godwin’s law should not be lost on people.

  • Sam Gilman

    Help me out here with what looks like a lack of critical thinking:

    If Fukushima radiation did that, how come radiation from bomb testing – which was much, much greater – didn’t do that?

    And if radiation did that to the West coast of north America, how come it didn’t do that to the east coast of Japan, where we still have the same amount of fish – probably more because of the disruption to fishing.

  • Sam Gilman

    Help me out here with what looks like a lack of critical thinking:

    If Fukushima radiation did that, how come radiation from bomb testing – which was much, much greater – didn’t do that?

    And if radiation did that to the West coast of north America, how come it didn’t do that to the east coast of Japan, where we still have the same amount of fish – probably more because of the disruption to fishing.

  • Factcheck

    rattleshark : You’re quoting Yoichi Shimatsu, who claimed that the Fukushima accident was intentionally caused by Mossad agents, and who also claimed that MH17, the airliner brought down by a missile in the Ukraine, was full of corpses and weaponized viruses. He’s an antisemite who also claims that Jews are also responsible for unrest in China. That blog post criticizing Cullen’s methodology is transparent BS. Do some homework for Christ’s sake! Anyone who believes Shimatsu’s “scientific” analysis deserves the extra ignorance they get from it.

  • Factcheck

    rattleshark : You’re quoting Yoichi Shimatsu, who claimed that the Fukushima accident was intentionally caused by Mossad agents, and who also claimed that MH17, the airliner brought down by a missile in the Ukraine, was full of corpses and weaponized viruses. He’s an antisemite who also claims that Jews are also responsible for unrest in China. That blog post criticizing Cullen’s methodology is transparent BS. Do some homework for Christ’s sake! Anyone who believes Shimatsu’s “scientific” analysis deserves the extra ignorance they get from it.

  • Factcheck

    If I were part of the antinuclear movement, I’d be really worried about how Durnford has managed to link the antinuclear movement with the Neonazi movement. Most of the people who support Durnford applaud Rense’s financial and PR backing for him. Rense is a racist and antisemite who features three people on his show more than any others: the Klan Leader David Duke, the antisemite Yoichi Shimatsu, and poor little Dana Durnford. What they all have in common is that they’re making money off off it. The not-crazy part of the antinuclear movement (yes, it exists) has been dismissing Durnford as a nutjob for years in private, but none of them — not Caldicott, not Gundersen, not Busby, not Greenpeace, not FOE — has ever made a public statement denouncing his use of death threats. That must be because they thought he was somehow making their job easier for them.

  • Factcheck

    Don’t kid yourselves, Durnford wasn’t arrested because what he has been saying was inconvenient to the nuclear industry or the “Illuminati.” It’s a simple criminal harassment rap. Every university professor in North America is required to report the kind of threats Durnford has been making in order to protect students, and that’s probably all Cullen and Buesseler did. The rest is up to law enforcement. What’s really depressing is that even in cut and dried cases of repeated abuse and threats like this, YouTube usually does not shut down user accounts. Neither does Facebook.

  • thedudeabidez

    I’d be careful of relying on Shimatsu to as a source, he’s the guy who claimed there were stacks of bodies of dead Fukushima workers being hidden from the press, and when called on it, tried to say that he sourced it from “his colleagues” at the Japan Times, despite the fact that no such story was ever reported.

  • Adam Selene

    Yeah, Dana is a good soul. Ken and Jay are awful people, lying as children and oceans die of this nuke gunk.

  • Michael Mann

    Ironic, Durnford called for peoples’ deaths to prevent scientific facts from being made public, trying to inhibit the free flow of information, he broke the law, now he wants to say his freedom of speech is being inhibited….Death threats are not protected speech nor should they be…

  • Sean Mcgee

    A seriously biased blog .. imo

  • Sean Mcgee

    biased imo

  • Factcheck

    Sean: Are you aware of any other news stories about Durnford and the charges against him that aren’t supportive of him? Besides this one and the two in the Globe and mail?

  • Sam Gilman

    Instead of making any civilised attempt to counter any of the points I make about “Toshide Tsude”‘s defence of Toshihide Tsuda’s article, you resort to attacking my tone. Well done you.

    In this attack, you say I’m abusive for methodically going over the clear errors in your “Toshide Tsude” post, (and defending Toshihide Tsuda against what appears to be a charlatan imposter) whereas when Dana Durnford with a following in the thousands openly calls for the murder of named scientists, you describe this as “tiny”? What an interesting moral universe you occupy.

    If Tsuda really did write what was posted on your blog, why don’t you ask Professor Tsuda to post some kind of authenticating message to show he wrote those words? For example, a YouTube video with him in it, or a message on his university webpage. It would be a gift to us all.

  • Factcheck

    It’s easy to dismiss the people Durnford and others have conned out of money as “incredibly stupid.” But so many easily debunked claims are repeated by a lot by the most influential leaders of the antinuclear movement — people like Caldicott, Busby, Mangano, Gundersen, IPPNW, ECRR, PSR, etc.. This has been alarming to a lot of people who oppose nuclear power for various reasons but who also demand that solid science be used as evidence. These “reasonable” people have tried to distance themselves from the “bad science” people, the “shriekers.” But this reasonable corner of the antinuclear movement lost to the shriekers long ago. And the shriekers have made monstrous cons like Durnford’s possible. If I didn’t know anything about radiation, and suddenly heard Caldicott shrieking about ocean die-offs and Mangano screaming about dead West Coast babies everywhere I turned, I might be influenced too. Nah, I wouldn’t really, but that’s besides the point.

  • Factcheck

    It’s easy to dismiss the people Durnford and others have conned out of money as “incredibly stupid.” But so many easily debunked claims are repeated by a lot by the most influential leaders of the antinuclear movement — people like Caldicott, Busby, Mangano, Gundersen, IPPNW, ECRR, PSR, etc.. This has been alarming to a lot of people who oppose nuclear power for various reasons but who also demand that solid science be used as evidence. These “reasonable” people have tried to distance themselves from the “bad science” people, the “shriekers.” But this reasonable corner of the antinuclear movement lost to the shriekers long ago. And the shriekers have made monstrous cons like Durnford’s possible. If I didn’t know anything about radiation, and suddenly heard Caldicott shrieking about ocean die-offs and Mangano screaming about dead West Coast babies everywhere I turned, I might be influenced too. Nah, I wouldn’t really, but that’s besides the point.