Independence Day 5G: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 5G, Warfare, and Battlefield injuries

By Patricia Burke

Did you hear the joke about how the people were told that surveillance-capable 5G is necessary for telehealth and remote surgery? But the U.S. military is not even buying it?

(This is the second in a series of articles coinciding with Independence Day in the U.S.  We are looking at themes related to industry vs. non-industry science, captured regulators, and other issues around the topics of independence and interdependence, regarding involuntary, ubiquitous EMF/RF and 5G exposures. Thank you for reading.)

Many products designed for the battlefield have subsequently been developed into consumer products, for better or for worse; for example, leaf blowers, and margarine. The 5G/wireless industry has been riding strong on the coattails of covid, climate, and necessary defense and militarization. Several popular belief systems have emerged as the result of the pandemic lockdowns.

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Questionable Belief 1. Telehealth access is unquestionably desirable, and therefore wireless 5G investment is necessary

Regarding telehealth, the benefits (and risks) of internet connectivity are being equated with the risks (and benefits) of wireless connectivity. They are not the same. For patients and practitioners who choose remote monitoring and services for their health, a wired internet connection works, and is more secure. Unnecessary, inconvenient, or unsafe travel can be eliminated, via wired connectivity, in many cases, saving time and reducing the “carbon footprint.” But telehealth does not need to equal wireless coverage unless the intention is to increase demand for wireless and 5G. And, how many visits to urgent care, etc need on-premise auxiliary services including X-rays and lab tests?

Increasing numbers of patients consult practitioners of in-person hands-on care including chiropractic, acupuncture, cranial-sacral, applied kinesiology, and all forms of bodywork.  In fact, some ‘alternative’ practitioners have already hardwired their offices, and restrict the use of wireless devices. They operate under the premise that patient and staff health is compromised by artificial RF/EMF exposures.

Personal accountability can precede policy change

Were there physicians who prohibited smoking in waiting rooms, before the tide of public opinion caught up with the science? Were there builders who stopped using asbestos, long before the lawsuits?  Yes. Personal accountability can precede policy change.

Questionable Belief 2. Addressing the “China threat” is an unquestionable priority; therefore, the defense/warfare/intelligence industries needs 5G, for example, to treat brave soldiers on the battlefield

In her article, “Countering the “China Threat” – At What Price?” written for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space,  Koohan Paik-Mander wrote,

“Just as the continent-spanning interstate highway system was laid during the 1950s to ensure a profitable future for the automobile industry, this new infrastructure—comprised of 5G, artificial intelligence, rocket launchpads, missile tracking stations, satellites, nukes, and internet-connected fleets of unmanned ships, jets, subs, hypersonic, and other craft—will ensure a reliably profitable assembly-line output of arms for the weapons industry. In tandem with the military infrastructure will come a continued expansion of associated security infrastructure, such as increased surveillance and data collection of every individual on the planet” – Koohan Paik-Mander

Questionable Belief 3.  5G-enabled Remote Surgery is The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Let’s look at this wonderful idea of 5G-enabled telehealth, and remote surgery.


Figure 1. Diagramatic representation of RSS. Sourced from: — Article source

“Future Battlefield Medicine –Robotic Surgeons And Unmanned Vehicles And Technologies”

The Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health is the official journal of the Australasian Military Medicine Association. It is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to supporting the publication of research and information on military medicine and veterans’ health. The article, “Glimpses of future battlefield medicine – the proliferation of robotic surgeons and unmanned vehicles and technologies” by Gary Martinic notes,

“The rescue of severely wounded soldiers, while under fire, is itself a major cause of military death and traumatic injury. Some sources estimate that up to 86% of battlefield deaths occur after the first 30 minutes post-injury.  Hence life saving training techniques and treatments, and more recently, the application of robotic surgical systems technologies and unmanned vehicles (UVs), have been developed to provide battlefield casualty extraction, critical life-saving interventions, and physiological monitoring, in order to reduce this incidence. Although not  invincible themselves, when it comes to enemy small arms fire, UVs and RGPs can sustain a lot more direct fire than can the average human soldier, hence their utility in combat first responder scenarios.

Just as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have continued to provide grounds troops with timely intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, and when armed, with the ability to bomb enemy targets using precision-guided bombs, today, unmanned ground vehicles  (UGVs)  and robotic ground platforms (RGPs), are increasingly being developed. Not only to search for improvised explosive devices, but also as important battlefield life-saving technologies. With today’s battlespace domination by various ‘life-taking’ weaponised robots, which can achieve ‘lethality via remote- control’, it has been encouraging to see the recent proliferation and availability of new ‘life-preserving’ technologies and unmanned  platforms.” – Gary Martinic

Figure 4. BigDog Robot image courtesy of Boston Dynamics — Article source

So, why is the U.S. military, which spends more than any other nation on weapons and warfare, not adopting the use of 5G millimeter waves for emergency health care?

Wargame Planners Won’t Include Even Low-Bandwidth Telehealth Until It Has Proven Valuable In Wargames

Defense One, published  “A Catch-22 Is Keeping Telemedicine Off the Battlefield, Wargame Planners Won’t Include Even Low-Bandwidth Telehealth Until It Has Proven Valuable In Wargames” by Patrick Tucker on July 2, 2021.

“Say telemedicine, and you might imagine two-way video or perhaps haptic sensors and augmented reality—features that need enormous bandwidth. But field studies from a successful telemedicine network built by military doctors show that low-bandwidth chat and text features are often all that’s needed. The real barriers to wider adoption of telemedicine are bureaucracy and misperceptions.

Army Lt. Col. Chris Colombo, the director of virtual health and telecritical care at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington, is one of the brains behind the National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network. It’s an experimental effort to connect doctors and other experts with nurses, field medics, and other care providers who need additional instruction on how to care for a patient. As Colombo and his fellow authors describe in the July issue of Critical Care Medicine, the network is simply a way to connect individuals caring for patients with doctors using mobile applications and elastic cloud computing.

‘Our teams have experienced numerous successes,’ Colombo writes. They include: ‘1) treating tension pneumothorax, while local experts were managing a cardiac arrest in a different location; 2) stabilizing respiratory failure, while the local tele-ICU system suffered communications failure; 3) avoiding hospitalizations through remote home monitoring and delivery of home oxygen therapy; and 4) supporting end-of-life care at a small hospital and in a home with a family, both unaccustomed to this experience.’

Neither these outcomes nor battlefield medicine usually require streaming video or other data-intensive features. ‘Most of the medic-in-the-field needs are easily handled through synchronous voice and asynchronous data. So ‘Hey, take a picture of the wound you are wondering about or the rash you are wondering about,’ he said in an interview. ‘You can send a pretty decent high-res photograph and compress the file size with very limited bandwidth, certainly enough to support voice with today’s technology.’

Colombo said that for most battlefield medical emergencies requiring the attention of an expert far away, voice communication is enough. ‘We’ve had them document vital signs for several hours of care and then take a photo of that [chart] and send it. Then the [doctor] or surgeon on the other end can get a sense of ‘Oh, your patient is trending this way. This happened, at this hour; you’ve given these medications.’ They are now up to speed using almost no bandwidth.’”

That matters at a time as the military struggles to extend and connect more things to battlefield networks and adversaries get better at electronic warfare.”- Patrick Tucker

Downsides of RSS Remote Surgery Systems

As noted by Gary Martinic,

“The idea of RSS, or technologies that use robotic systems to aid in surgical procedures on-site, have been around for over three decades. In 1992, Dr. Senthil Nathan of Guy’s and St. Thomas hospital in London successfully carried out the first robotic surgical procedure (prostatectomy) in the world, using ‘Probot’, developed at Imperial College London.

With grant support from both NASA and DARPA (US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), and thanks to the years of pioneering work of Dr. Robert M. Satava, the original telesurgery robotic system was developed, based on the da Vinci design.  It turned out to be more useful for on-site minimally invasive surgery  (MIS), than remotely-performed surgery on the battlefield and other environments.

According to critics of RSS, there are a lack of studies that indicate that long term results are superior, there is often a steep learning curve, requiring additional surgical training to operate the system. Whether the  purchase  of  RSS  are  cost  effective  (between $1.75-1.8M), surgeon’s opinions vary widely, mostly because some surgeons consider the learning phase too intensive, as they need to complete at least 12- 18 procedures before they comfortably adapt to the RSS. During the training phase, some surgeons suggest that MIS can be twice as long as traditional surgery, resulting in patients being kept under anaesthesia longer and ORs open longer.

Most Da Vinci units are located in major centres of capital cities, and it is estimated that they are commonly used in up to 450,000 operations per year globally. Though, while they currently dominate the RSS landscape, they are not without their problems.

Firstly, they use proprietary software, and post installation, each machine collects more than $100K in maintenance service agreements, plus the costs of ongoing, expensive surgical consumables. They are also heavy kits of machinery, weighing more than half a tonne. This from a military point of view of course, renders them somewhat ‘immobile’ and limits their deployability. [ ] Regardless of the mixed opinions of surgeons, today on-site RSS have a multitude of applications.” – Gary Martinic

Hollywood vs. Real Medicine

As dramatic as many of the heroic decisions appear on the multitude of medical and hospital-based television shows, the reality of emergency patient care is that veterinarians made a significant discovery about patient care that was eventually adopted for human medicine.

Patients fared far better in surgery if they were stabilized first.

Let’s stop promoting telehealth and remote surgery as signs of innovation and progress and drivers for 5G.

Preventative Medicine Includes Protecting the Nature Environment and Preventing Wars

At the same time that the supposed benefits of urgent remote surgery are being promoted, expectant parents are urged to give birth in hospitals in the case that medical intervention is necessary.  There is little doubt that there are benefits to having access to experts in the case of an emergency, and that technological applications have their place.

The emergency is that society is being led to believe that 5G is a necessary evolution in health care. In fact, an EMF/RF polluted environment is a source of poor health, immune stress, and chronic illness.

With the development of nuclear-enabled full-spectrum dominance, one has to question how survivable any war will be, and whether there will be any rescues or remote surgeries.  Rather than increasing EMF/RF via 5G, presumably in part to meet the demand for battlefield health care, instead can’t we Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, and Stop the Wars?

Top image courtesy Global 5G Protest.

See the entire Independence Day series here.

See Patricia Burke’s article archive here.

Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits.She is based in Massachusetts and can be reached at [email protected].

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