Put the Brakes on the 5G Revolution Before It’s Too Late

Over the last year, since we’ve moved to Westport, CT, I’ve been an active member in a group of retired men. It’s somehow associated with the YMCA and is catchily called “The Ys Men.” Most of the members are former CEOs, lawyers, artists, scientists, academicians, small businessmen, local politicians, and otherwise smart people and community leaders. As such, they represent the epitome of community wise men.

The group has a membership of over 400. Over 200 of them show up for weekly Thursday morning meetings, where we enjoy coffee, donuts, time to meet and greet, and invariably have outstanding speakers. The Ys Men also sponsor many activities including golf, a book club, tennis, bocce, pickle ball, sailing, music appreciation (jazz and classical) and outings to restaurants, theaters, museums, and sporting events. It’s great fun.

Since joining, I’ve been part of a Current Events Discussion Group that meets every other Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45. Usually about 50 men show up. We’ve unpacked issues like the war in Syria, China’s Belt and Road initiative, France’s Yellow Vest movement, and developments in India and Turkey. I always try to contribute to the discussion. At the end of each meeting, participants suggest and vote on the topic for the gathering to follow.

Last week, I proposed that for the November 18th meeting, we discuss a film I had recently seen “5G Apocalypse: Extinction Event.” And my motion carried. So, in less than two weeks, we’ll discuss what I consider one of the most disturbing documentaries I’ve ever come across. You can access it here. What follows is the result of viewing the film several times and reading related material. It’s made me skeptical about the 5G rollout.

The Film Itself

“5G Apocalypse: Extinction Event” addresses the advent of the Fifth Generation (5G) of cell phone technology, which it portrays not only as a severe health threat, but as a menace to our freedom as citizens of a constitutional democracy.

The documentary actually makes three arguments. The first is that 5G technology even as presented by industry and government represents a severe threat to human and environmental health. The second is that those same representations are false; 5G technology emits not only supposedly harmless radio waves, but undeniably harmful radar and microwaves far beyond acceptable levels. The documentary’s third argument is that such emissions secretly generated from s.m.a.r.t. products are ultimately weaponized for purposes of crowd-control – to track people’s movements and subdue them in case of insurrection.

In developing those points, “Extinction Event” presents on the one hand the pro-5G testimony of Federal Communications Commission chairperson, Tom Wheeler, his successor, Ajit Pai, as well as other spokespersons from corporations such as Verizon and Motorola. On the other hand, it offers damning critique from a long array of scientists, military personnel, investigative journalists, politicians, and activists calling attention to the extreme dangers of 5G technology.

The Apparent Debate

As presented in the film, the proponents of the new technology stand united in fast tracking its implementation. We are in a race, they argue, with China, India, and the European Union for getting on top of this latest communications phenomenon. If our competitors (especially Chinese) prevail, it will mean we have ceded to foreigners the capacity to dominate the globe not only economically, but politically.

However, if successful with their proposed rush to market, Americans instead of the Chinese, Europeans, Indians or Russians will emerge in the dominant position just referenced. But, according to Wheeler, Pai and industry spokespersons, success hinges on the government suspending its regulatory power and upon cutting through “red tape” that would otherwise hinder the new technology’s rollout. Here “red tape” refers to delays caused by human and environmental impact studies.

In other words, industry leaders’ haste to secure competitive advantage rules out any government oversight as well as public debate about health and surveillance implications of 5G. One advocate even suggests suspension of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which assigns all (regulatory) powers to the states or people unless expressly delegated to the Federal Government.

In exchange for such laissez-faire measures, industry representatives promise a utopian future of high-speed internet, enhanced global connections – and billions of dollars in profit for the communications giants.

By way of contrast, critics of the new technology warn of an impending apocalypse. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, they say, indicate that 5G technology will:

  • Install cell towers and antennas at the rate of 250 per square mile exposing every inch of the earth to harmful radiation 100 times that of current exposure
  • Cause cellular stress, increased risk of cancer, genetic damage, reproductive issues, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s syndrome
  • Threaten to kill pollinators such as bees and to render the earth’s very soil infertile
  • Change the migratory patterns of birds
  • Make weather predictions more difficult
  • Dwarf the threat to human health represented by tobacco and cigarettes

Of course, the cigarette analogy recalls for 5G resisters the power of harmful industries to hire and mobilize scientists, academicians and the mainstream media to advance “alternative facts” contradicting the alleged consensus of their counterparts. In the case of the 5G controversy, critics point out, such dissenting studies generally appear in the mainstream media alongside ads sponsored by Verizon, AT&T, and other phone giants with vested interests not only in this new technology, but in selling it to an unsuspecting public.

For instance, in May of this year, The New York Times published an article by William Broad entitled “Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You but Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.” As its title indicates, the piece advanced a theory that 5G concerns are part of a Russian plot to secure advantage for their version of 5G technology in the global marketplace. Accordingly, Broad attacked RT America, the U.S-based TV news channel funded by the Russian government, as though it were the major source raising concerns about the dangers of 5G.

The Times report goes on to identify critics of 5G as “a few marginal opponents” who mistakenly identify radio waves as “radiations.” According to Broad, opposition criticism does not appear in reputable journals, but in “little-known reports, publications and self-published tracts, at times with copious notes of dubious significance.”

Broad, however, does not mention the contrary position divulged in The Scientific American. Much less does he reference the longest and most thorough study of the question performed by the National Toxicology Program which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After two years of investigation, the latter concluded that there is “some evidence” of adverse health effects caused by 2G and 3G cell phones. Presumably, 5G technology would provide further evidence.

Ignoring all of that, Broad argues that radio waves used in cell phones are relatively harmless. This is because they lie at the end of the electromagnetic spectrum directly opposite the harmful rays, such as ultraviolet and x-rays, which in high doses can indeed damage DNA and cause cancer.

In response, 5G critics argue that Broad’s rationale too easily dismisses not only serious studies, but also the undeniable fact that radio waves do in fact represent “radiation.” And while such emissions do come from radio waves at the more benign end of the electromagnetic spectrum, they are not without negative health effects – as already noted by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. Moreover, as emitted from portable phones and ubiquitous antennae, cell phone radiation takes place very close to phone users and is backed up by powerful micro and macro towers. As a result, there is a lot more cumulative radiation.

In fact, according to “5G Apocalypse,” international standards for acceptable levels of cell phone radiation are already in place. Cell phones need 0.2 billionths of a microwatt per centimeter squared to operate at all. At 0.05 microwatts per centimeter squared, psychologists have noted behavioral problems in children aged 8-17. The level of 0.1 already enters an area of “extreme concern.” At 4.0 billionths of a microwatt, cell phone users exhibit difficulties with memory and learning. Cellular DNA damage occurs at 6.0. Smart meters reach a level of 7.93 billionths of a microwatt per centimeter squared.

With all of this in mind, Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Lichtenstein cap permissible levels at 9.5. The level is 10 in China, Poland, and Russia. Nonetheless, the United States and Canada allow levels of 600-1000 microwatts per centimeter squared – i.e. tens of thousands of times higher than those known to adversely affect human health.      

In the end, Broad’s argument seems vulnerable to accusations of having selected its data from those industry studies whose conclusions (as noted in “5G Apocalypse”) differ sharply from non-industry research regarding the harmful effects of radio-frequency emissions. As pictured below, seventy percent of non-industry studies find radio-frequency radiation harmful. In contrast, 68% of industry studies find it harmless.       


The Hidden Debate

But that’s not the end of the debate outlined in “5G Apocalypse.” Far from it. Instead, there’s another dimension that is largely ignored in the mainstream media. It involves deliberate falsification of the nature of radiofrequency emissions from the proposed system along with sinister intent on the part of government authorities.

To begin with, the 5G radiations in question do not issue merely from relatively benign radio waves (which, as indicated above have their own problems). They also include radar and intense microwaves expressly intended for military operations against rebellious civilians.   

In fact, the system’s technology is directly modeled on military microwave counterparts originally intended for crowd control and psychological warfare. As portrayed in “Extinction Event,” 5G technology enables all police operations requiring an electromagnetic base to be executed with greatly increased efficiency. This includes constant surveillance and crowd dispersal. The video even goes so far as to describe 5G as a weapons system masquerading as a modern efficiency technology.

As such, the film argues, 5G fits neatly into the military-industrial-complex (MIC) model that Dwight Eisenhower warned against as he left office in 1961. It embodies omnipresent weapon capability available to the MIC minority to control an otherwise unmanageable majority. The technology’s omnipresence promises to send signals from stoves, refrigerators, heating units, microwave ovens, computers and printers. In other words, signals will emanate from any s.m.a.r.t. device. According to “Extinction Event,” the latter acronym should stand for “secret military armament in residence technologies.”


So, how are we to interpret the 5G controversy? Are the opponents of the new technology simply Luddites who reflexively oppose all technological advance? Are they conspiracy theorists in tin foil hats? The telecommunications industry and mainstream media would have us think so.

Despite their efforts however, here’s what we know for certain:

  • U.S. Government proponents of 5G technology (like the Trump administration’s FCC chairperson, Ajit Pai) have deep ties to telecommunications industry.
  • In view of its practice of incessant prevarications, the Trump administration has negative credibility.
  • Similarly, corporate America has been frequently caught in lies and cover-ups that endanger consumers (e.g. in relation to cigarettes and tobacco, climate change, and automobile safety).
  • For the sake of profit, huge corporations such as IBM, Bayer, Ford Motors, and AIG Insurance have shameful records of supporting the most virulent strain of fascism in Nazi Germany. Historically speaking, they routinely support repressive military regimes and place profits ahead of human freedom, democracy, and welfare.
  • Currently they and their counterparts have millions of dollars at their disposal to fund alternative research and sponsor unlimited articles and advertising to advance their agendas and discredit their critics.
  • Those critics have no such resources.

Besides all of that, we also know for certain that:

  • The improvement of the human condition represented by 5G technology is marginal at best. The present speed of our computers is actually quite adequate to meet human need.
  • “We” the people are not in competition with the Chinese for 5G superiority.
  • Instead, it’s the telecommunications giants whose bottom lines and quest for patents make it imperative for them to win the race for 5G control.
  • No matter who wins that race, 5G technology (if proven safe and beneficial) will eventually arrive for everyone on the planet who can afford it.
  • Enough red flags have been raised by credible scientific studies to justify further human and environmental impact studies by qualified independent researchers.
  • A whole array of cautionary scientists, activists, and political leaders are merely calling for slowing down the rush into an unknown future. In the interests of protecting human health, their grandchildren and the environment, they want further study.

Finally, those expressing caution point out that a safe alternative to 5G technology already exists. It takes the form of publicly financed fiber optics. Such alternative:

  • Buries the main source of harmful radiation
  • Requires very little energy per data packet.
  • Goes only where it is needed
  • As a result, offers a high level of privacy and safety as opposed to more hackable, omnipresent 5G arrangements
  • Is ultra-reliable
  • Moreover, a publicly financed fiber-optic alternative eliminates the market-driven “technological imperative” fueled by an imagined race for patents and profit.
  • In the final analysis, that race is the only reason for accelerating a process in dire need of further study and proper oversight.

In summary, advocates of an accelerated, unregulated 5G rollout make it sound like it’s a national imperative for “us” to beat the Chinese in some race into a promising future that will somehow exclude us if they get there first. However, history and the desire of telecommunication giants to bypass environmental and human impact studies show that they are not really concerned about our lives or those of our children and grandchildren, much less of animals and plants. On the contrary, they care principally about profit and are willing to sacrifice all the rest for a healthy bottom line. The rest of us must face the fact that it’s not “us” but multinational corporations like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, Motorola, and T-Mobile who need to win their race for patents and billions in profits.

Instead of all this great hurry, it’s better to slow down, do the necessary study, take these momentous decisions out of the hands of profiteers, and look before we leap.  

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

One thought on “Put the Brakes on the 5G Revolution Before It’s Too Late”

  1. Thanks Mike. Timely warnings. This is only one face of the out of control technology juggernaut threatening the happiness and very existence of humankind. The unreflective love affair with “progress” that has bequeathed us the hydrogen bomb and sophisticated rockets to deliver it to our “enemies” in order to make us “safer” is another of many examples of Genies prematurely released from their bottles, where they should have been confined forever as too dangerous for us to handle.


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