5G and Those Fires — Conspiracies About Conspiracies

By Patricia Burke

Internationally, the mainstream news media has reported that opponents of 5G were lighting telecommunications towers on fire over the last few months, because they were blaming 5G for the spread of covid-19.

On June 24, Lee Adams of Vice Media Group hosted “Down the 5G & COVID-19 Conspiracy Rabbithole” on YouTube. The video description states:

At a time when we still have more questions than answers about the novel COVID-19 virus, theories have spread like wildfire across the internet. Of those, one of the largest and most widespread has blamed 5G, a new type of cellular network, for the global pandemic we find ourselves in. 5G has been controversial since it began, but the COVID-19 pandemic has given theories behind this technology a new life- bleeding into the mainstream and rousing people to get out of their homes and burn down towers. In this episode of “The Rabbit Hole”, host Lee Adams, still isolating in his home, dives into the depths of the internet to talk to believers and experts in the hopes of finding out what this technology could possibly have to do with a global pandemic.

Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs and Brand at Openreach, UK’s national broadband provider, (which provides fiber serving as backhaul for telecommunications, including 5G,) chimes in at 8 1/2 minutes into the interview.

She states,

We’ve had days of action where people have tried to attack and burn down the infrastructure. I mean some of this infrastructure also is supporting the health services. We run the 999 (emergency services). Some the masts that were set on light were actually supporting some of the hospitals with covid victims.

Isn’t it time for an investigation into the industry claims about the fires?

1) When were those days of action held that resulted in coordinated fire activity?

2) Which specific groups organized days of action promoting fires and vandalism?

3) Where were the fires lit? Were there any witnesses?

4) How were “conspiracy theorists” able to start fires near the top of towers?

5) Would a layperson even know how to light a metallic cell tower on fire?

6) How many of the fires were subsequently attributed to other causes, for example, this fire in New Zealand?

Police have now confirmed a preliminary finding that an April 9 transmission tower fire in Porirua was caused by a fault. At the time, many in the telco industry thought anti-5G protestors – fuelled by a new conspiracy theory which blames the mobile network technology for Covid-19 – were to blame for the blaze, which took out Kordia TV transmission gear, and badly damaged 2degrees equipment. (Source: New Zealand Herald)

7) Are there other causes for cell tower fires?

Cell Tower Fires and Collapsing Towers

https://www.electronicsilentspring.com/primers/cell-towers-cell-phones/cell-tower-fires-collapsing/

8) Who are the individuals that started the fires? What relationship did these individuals have with established groups questioning the health and environmental impacts of 5G radio frequency exposure, before covid-19?

9) What concrete evidence supports the claim that 5G opposition groups ever endorsed vandalism or property destruction?

Low Intelligence, Right-Leaning, Violent, and Under the Influence … Of Russia????

Politico’s May 18th reporting on the fires hyperlinked to an article by HOPE not hate.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/18/deep-conspiracy-roots-europe-wave-cell-tower-fires-264997

HOPE not hate reported:

Posts and comments supporting the destruction of 5G telecommunications infrastructure are widespread in every anti-5G Facebook group we’ve examined. The prevalence of such comments may indicate either support for their views from the groups’ administrators or simply lax moderation, but in either case this represents a widespread and significant breach of Facebook’s community standards, which explicitly prohibit the promotion of criminal activity targeting people or property.

Many of these groups are growing at a significant rate. The largest group we looked at, STOP 5G UK, added almost three thousand members in just 24 hours between the 6th and 7th of April and had almost 60,000 prior to its deletion. One of the smaller groups, Direct Action Against 5G, was created on March 31st and gained over 1400 members in its first week. This means that an ever-growing number of Facebook users are accessing posts that promote antisemitic conspiracies and criminal actions. Comment sections within the group frequently involved group members ‘educating’ each other on different far-right conspiracy theories. Comment sections were filled with incitement to criminal damage against 5G infrastructure.

Source:  HOPE not hate

Which anti-5G groups did HOPE not hate NOT investigate?

Do we recognize that comments posted on a Facebook page do not represent the sentiments of a group or organization?

Do individuals who visit a Facebook page necessarily look at or signify agreement with every comment, in particular, anti-Semitic sentiments, or posts promoting violence?

Or do the majority of 5G opponents concur with Devra Davis of the Environmental Health Trust?

Burning 5G Towers Across Europe Is Harming Health, Wildlife and The Climate

Reports of cell towers being burned and telecom workers being harassed in the U.K.,The Netherlands, Ireland, and Cyprus is something scientists around the world are rightly condemning. Violent actions will only beget violent consequences for the very environment these misguided opponents seek to protect….

Without question, burning private property is a crime. This should be stopped. So should the degradation of our environment by untested technologies. (Source: International Business Times)

In the Vice Media Group video, Josh Smith, a researcher for the left-leaning Center for Analysis of Social Media at the DEMOS think tank in the UK stated that many of the individuals who fell prey to the covid conspiracy theories “lean to the right.”

“The Russians” have also been blamed for fueling 5G opposition by various writers, including this author in Australia:

Russian propaganda ‘very likely’ stoking 5G health fears in Australia: expert claims
https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/russian-propaganda-stoking-5g-health-fears-in-australia-20190916-p52rmc.html

The 5G-covid-fires narrative continues to remain a focus of the industry

This week, Telecomtv.com reported, “GSMA’s EMF Forum debates strategies to counter swirling misinformation about the dangers of 5G radiation.”

The Big Daddy of all telecoms trade shows, the GSMA’s MWC jamboree in Barcelona, can’t currently take place as a physical event because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Association’s work goes on virtually and will continue to do so even after the world rights itself and normal service is resumed. Under those normal circumstances the GSMA’s 9th EMF Forum would have convened in Brussels, Belgium, in mid-October but this year the event went virtual.

Along with all the mad rumours and downright lies swirling around the pandemic, much misinformation and disinformation is also being spread about 5G and the alleged effects the technology’s electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) could have on the health of the physical world in general and human beings in particular. To its credit, this year’s Forum grasped the nettle and focused to large extent on the myths and misinformation/disinformation that conspiracy theorists are spreading about the new mobile technology and the harm these trends can cause if not confronted and refuted continually and head-on.

Forum attendees from the global mobile industry, governments, public health organisations, civic society and policy makers discussed and debated the scientific reality of EMF radiation versus the hysterical polemics promulgated by conspiracy theorists, purveyors of fake news and others of their ilk, such as those activists that have been attacking and destroying 5G antenna sites and threatening on-site telecoms engineers.

Professor Lewandowsky is the co-author of the “Debunking 2020 Handbook” and it is well worth reading as a reasoned and detailed methodology via which to respond to misinformation and fake news, probably the most dangerous and insidious of which, presently, is the widely circulating “rumour as fact” that there is a link between the transmission of Covid-19 and the deployment of 5G technology.

The Handbook defines false information as that which is spread by mistake or with intent to mislead. When the intent is to mislead it becomes disinformation. Both variants have the potential to harm individuals and society.

It is also to be be hoped that as 5G becomes commonplace and people get used to it and begin to understand and appreciate the many benefits and innovations it will reduce the amount misinformation, disinformation and scaremongering and perhaps even bring it to almost a full stop.

The Gated Institutional Narrative

In a blog post, “The Ugly Face of Science – David Robert Grimes, Steven Novella, David Gorski”, author Yoda Knight explains.’

So, for example, the onus is on the Agrochemical Industry to prove that the long-term, systemic and synergistic effects of chemicals used are safe. The onus is not on those who doubt the safety of such products. And, of course, in law, industries and corporations must be at least implicitly stating products as safe when brought to market – so these skeptics wrongly place the onus even according to their very own conception of burden of proof. They are endorsed by – and beholden to – corporate and industry interests (whilst proclaiming and virtue signalling the exact opposite), lodged within – and incentivized by – what Eric Weinstein calls the Gated Institutional Narrative.

The 5G-covid-fire narrative enabled the wireless industry and its media partners to portray 5G opponents as intellectually/scientifically inferior, reactionary, right-leaning, violent, destructive, and under the influence of Russia.

In the realm of perpetrator, victim, abuser, accuser, and rescuer, the 5G-covid-fire narrative enables monolithic telecom providers in the process of over-riding community consent, environmental justice, and human rights to portray themselves both as victims and as saviors/rescuers.

Is it possible that the news story about 5G-covid fires is itself intentional, exaggerated, and/or fabricated, to do exactly what it did, which was to promote the Gated Institutional Narrative regarding 5G?

Politico’s astonishing link to HOPE not hate compares the burning of cell towers to the burning of witches.

History supplies a sharp parallel. Beginning in the middle of the 16th century, tens of thousands of men and women—women, for the most part—were killed for being witches. There had been similar executions before, but they took on new momentum around 1550, in the full flower of the Renaissance and all its attendant emphasis on rationality. Many of these people were burned; as with the 5G towers, the spectacle of destruction seemed as vital as the destruction itself. In 1613, for instance, at least 40 people in the southern Dutch town of Roermond were tried for bringing about blights in crops and the deaths of livestock and children. Found guilty, they were tied to stakes and burned to death. A couple dozen miles northwest lies the town of Liessel, where a cell phone tower was set alight in April. It’s tempting to compare the material conditions of that bygone Europe with those of Europe today, and to find in those conditions some common origins for these infernal impulses.

This is where the real echo lies—in the interests that drive the irrational mistrust of 5G towers.

As part of Moscow’s campaign to disrupt Western societies, Russian media outlets have been stoking 5G alarm with a flood of false facts, calling the technology a bearer of “wireless cancer.” Companies like Facebook and YouTube have been content to let wild plans for arson remain on their platforms for weeks. The irony is, of course, unmissable: These plans target the telecoms towers that are the very infrastructure of not only the Information Age but the Misinformation Age.

“The historian Stuart Clark, in writing about witch trials, called them the product of an “age of cognitive extremism,” in which any contrarian idea was quickly labeled as the work of the devil. Rinse the religion out of that description, and it can be applied neatly to our world today. The firebugs going after 5G masts prove an essential and dangerous political truth. Spend enough energy turning people against each other, and you’ll be able to muster a mob with pitchforks and torches in any place, in any time.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/18/deep-conspiracy-roots-europe-wave-cell-tower-fires-264997

hyperlinks to:

https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2020/04/13/anti-5g-conspiracy-theories-are-dangerous-and-spreading-fast/

What makes the comparison between burning witches and burning cell towers so remarkably outlandish is that generations of herbalists, gardeners, farmers, and natural healers whose work was aligned with the laws of nature were burned at the stake by dominator cultures devoid of reverence for nature and natural law.

This is somewhat akin to concerns about out-of-control techno-arrogance reigning in an industry that has failed to heed e-waste fires burning in impoverished nations and excessive energy consumption. In producing more cellphones, the wireless industry is ruining ecosystems and destroying human health.

What if the telecom industry exaggerated, misrepresented, or outright fabricated the claim that “days of action” were responsible for coordinated fires?

The article “Chinese 5G Not Living up To Its Hype” quoted maligned Huawei’s founder. “In fact, human societies do not have an urgent need for 5G,” said Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, “What people need now is broadband, and the main content of 5G is not broadband.”

Stop5GInternational, a group that is not lacking in intelligence, right-leaning, violent, or under the influence of Russia, but advocating for health, human rights, and the environment has respectfully invited the public to join in its next action to oppose 5G.

Candle/Lantern Vigils for Safer Technology Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stop 5G International invites people around the world to join together on December 20, 2020, with Candle/Lantern Vigils, to honor increasing reverence for nature, and a call to “Stop 5G”.

5G is the “next generation” of wireless telecommunications infrastructure build-out. It presents unacknowledged risks to human health and the environment, and perpetuates rather than addresses economic, digital, and racial inequities. 5G will vastly increase energy consumption, the exploitation of poorer nations via resource extraction and e-waste and violates human and community rights by placing profits before people.

The winter solstice has been observed for millennia in cultures that were aligned with the rhythms of nature, as a time for reflection on the balance between darkness and light. The December Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere.

The call to Stop 5G represents the intention to reclaim reverence for the abundance and generativity of the natural electromagnetic environment of the Earth. It recognizes the need for technological innovation to operate within, rather than in defiance of, the Laws of Nature.

Note: Stop 5G International does not endorse any forms of vandalism or destruction in its advocacy for safer technology and environmental stewardship. Spread the love.

Image: https://stop5ginternational.org/candle-lantern-vigils-for-safer-technology/

Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits. .

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