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Zuckerberg Denies That Facebook Uses Your Phone’s Microphone To Spy On You… Hmm

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress again today to finish off a second day of questioning on Capitol Hill. His appearance was voluntary and came as a result of the recent Cambridge Analytica data breach that saw the loss of 80 million plus Facebook users’ data.

Zuckerberg was questioned on a number of issues challenging Facebook including data usage, selling user data, privacy, the societal value of Facebook, Facebook’s political stance and how they censor outlets based on their political stance.

One of the longest running theories about Facebook was that it would collect information from your verbal conversations via your phone’s microphone while you have your phone on or around you. You likely experienced the following before: You are having a conversation with friends about a very specific brand, specific product and so forth. Then suddenly you hop on Facebook, having not searched for that product or brand at all, now there is an ad for that very product in your newsfeed.

Logically one would think the only way for this to happen would be that they are analyzing trigger words in your conversations. That, or they are somehow tapped into your consciousness and gathering data that way.

Congressman Larry Bucsh asked Zuckerberg on Wednesday whether or not Facebook does in fact mine data via your personal conversations using your phones microphone.

“My understanding is that a lot of these cases that you’re talking about are a coincidence,” Zuckerberg told Congress. This answer did not seem to go over so well based on the look on Bucsh’s face. Not just that, how could this truly explain the frequency and incredible accuracy of this phenomenon.

Zuckerberg was asked the question on both days of questioning as it has been one of the major questions surrounding Facebook spying. Still Zuckerberg stated that it was a “conspiracy theory,” and denied the practice with a flat “no.” He went on to say that he doesn’t know of any company using this tactic. Except for maybe the NSA? We know this tech exists, the question is does Facebook use it and are they willing to admit it?

Was he telling the truth? Does one even need to tell the truth during these types of hearings? While some of us think yes, in fact they don’t. And in many cases people have lied for us only to find out the truth a short time after.

Let’s not forget that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress the NSA does not “wittingly” spy on Americans. And yet only a few months later whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the entire world that the NSA was doing just that.

When it comes to news and information censorship, Facebook routinely does this to protect their own political position. We have seen this first hand when we share content that challenges Facebook’s own ideologies. Regardless of the fact our journalistic process uses facts, sources and proof that are well founded, Facebook views this as threatening information. Censorship has been intense from our perspective.

Reflecting On Why This Is Important

In December of 2017 I released an article stating Facebook would go through a deep awakening in 2018 due to the fact that their platform seems to be in need of a shift. Users are clearly unhappy and the social media giant has been using manipulative psychological tactics to prey on its users in order to keep them using the platform.

During a time where humanity’s consciousness is shifting so dramatically, this type of behaviour from companies won’t go unnoticed and people will begin to figure out what’s going on. Not only that, in a natural course of action companies will in essence ‘be outed’ for the things that aren’t in alignment with humanity truly thriving.

I feel this spotlight on Facebook is actually inspiring to see. While on one hand we can say it’s politics and congress trying to decide if they need to step in and help regulate, and on another hand dirty dealings, lies and deceit are coming to the surface in what is like a great unveiling where humanity can now reflect upon itself and what it does.

Is Facebook still of value to our daily lives when they do only what’s in the best interest of their business and not the user experience? Should we be spending so much time on a platform using tactics to manipulate us?

The barrage of ‘bad press’ for Facebook has been tough as they are losing users in the millions every month. In the end we learn another valuable lesson from this, when we, or companies, do things that don’t benefit the whole, our day or ‘reckoning,’ if you will, comes. What I mean by this is, as humanity we have to learn to do things that truly favor all involved or that do not harm nor take advantage of others simply for our individual benefit. This is a lesson being seen on the macrocosm but applies to the micro as well.

In your day, do you find yourself taking advantage of others? Running your business or your plans to benefit yourself more so than others? Why do you find yourself doing this? I believe we can all turn what we see in the ‘real world’ into an internal reflection for ourselves as well.

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Underworld

Ex Chief Adviser For The UN’s Child Labour Program Arrested For Pedophilia

There’s been a massive amount of disclosure with regards to elite pedophile rings for decades, but more attention was brought to it last year, with some weird and bizarre leaked emails from long time politician, John Podesta, it’s how the whole “Pizzagate” debacle began.

Not only that, last year an NBC news report claimed that Hillary Clinton, while acting as secretary of state, shut down an investigation into an elite pedophile ring in State Department ranks in order to avoid scandal and protect the careers of high ranking officials and an ambassador.

Pretty crazy, isn’t it? Former U.S. representative, Cynthia McKinney, was well aware of the corruption that was going on within DynCorp, and she actually addressed it in 2005. She grilled former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on the government’s involvement and compliance with military contractor DynCorp’s child trafficking business of selling women and children. She was brave enough to bring it up. More than a decade later, Retired Army General James Grazioplene, who worked in the Pentagon and as the Vice President of DynCorp, is currently facing six rape charges.

The list of examples go on, and to deny such activity is ridiculous. It’s something that happens in multiple industries, by people in positions of great power. Hollywood is another popular example, where childhood star Corey Feldman seems to be leading the charge.

This kind of thing also goes straight to the Vatican, you can read more about that here.

Where else does this type of activity happen? Unfortunately, from those within the United Nations as well.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide and 4.5 million people trapped in forced sex trafficking around the globe. At least 100,000 children are prostituted annually in the U.S., adding to the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry.

It’s not just pimps and escaped convicts involved. It’s the people we’re expected to respect or “look up to” the most: politicians, the elite, the wealthy businessmen, your neighbours, and oftentimes the people that you’d least expect.

An Associated Press investigation into the United Nations (UN) has revealed that over the past 12 years, there have been approximately 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and other employees around the world. Over 300 of those cases involved children; however, very few perpetrators have actually been arrested and held accountable for their crimes. There were even allegations of this type of abuse during Haiti peacekeeping missions.

In exchange for food, the UN peacekeepers demanded sex from children as young as 12. In regards to the child sex ring run by UN peacekeepers in Haiti, nine children were being passed around from 2004 to 2007.

“I did not even have breasts,” said a girl, known as “V01” (Victim No. 1). Vo1 was allegedly forced to have sex with approximately 50 peacekeepers over a period of three years, between the ages of 12 and 15. One of the perpetrators was a “Commandant” who she said gave her 75 cents in exchange for sex. Vo1 explained that she would often sleep in UN trucks on the base.

You can read more about that story here.

The latest news comes from ex chief advisor for the United Nation’s Child Labour Program, Peter Dalglish, who was recently arrested for pedophilia. In early 2017 the United Nations Secretary General admitted to 145 incidents involving 311 victims in 2016 alone, mainly in peace operations. We covered this earlier this year.

Sadly, the 311 victims are only those who were brave enough to come forward to report the rapes and abuse. Many of the victims were children. The UN Secretary General confessed that this was only the tip of the iceberg. But how big is the iceberg?

 According to Global News,

“According to police, Dalglish was taken from a home in a district north of Kathmandu. Police said in a statement two girls, 12 and 14 years old, were “rescued” from the home. Police allege children were lured with a promise of education and foreign travel before they were sexually abused. Authorities said in the statement they are investigating whether more children may have been victims.”

Dalglish has quite the resume, apart from being a senior UN official he founded the charity known as “Street Kids International.” He was taken in by Nepal police on Sunday April 8th, as Xinhua news agency reported.

The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police wanted to question him.

Bringing The ‘Dark’ To ‘Light,’ It’s Really All One

If we want to move forward aas a human race, we have to look at the ‘darker’ aspects of humanity and bring them to light. We have to expose our ‘humanitarian’ organizations and ‘leaders’ who commit acts like this, so we can see the bigger picture about who we, as humanity, allows to be appointed to positions of power.

This type of activity is literally unbelievable, and the fact that multiple allegations of elite level pedophilia have been made public over a period of many years, is quite disturbing. To find out that someone whom you once looked up to, or someone who is praised in the eyes of the masses, is involved in such things can really be quite a big shock.

The most important thing, however, with such revelations, is not to direct the same energy into it. If we accuse, attack, blame, and punish, we’re really getting nowhere. Instead, we should look at the bigger picture, make the connections and find out why all of these elitist groups are engaged in such activity, and why they are continually portrayed to be the saviours of humanity.

This is one big human experience, the human mind labels certain experiences as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ or ‘dark’ and ‘light,’ but the truth is, it’s just an experience, and we can change what doesn’t resonate about us anytime we choose. Although it’s hard to deliver a conscious take away from this story, as we try to do with all our other stories, it’s really about coming to grips with the fact that some dark things are happening on planet Earth, but our reaction and response to these things determine whether or not we are going to put a halt to it.

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Global Debt is Now an Insane $164 Trillion, but Who Exactly Do We Owe?

If you’ve ever wondered why the world seems hopelessly fraught with endless conflict, ruled corrupt states, and bent on developing a never-ending supply of advanced weaponry, you’d need to understand the nature of our debt based economy.

The IMF has just reported that total global debt is now at a staggering $164 trillion, which amounts to 225% of total global GDP. Every person on this planet could turn over everything they produce for the next two plus years and we’d still be in debt.

The number is now so astronomically high that its impossible to pay off, and so there really is no point to even trying. In fact, government’s are not at all concerned with paying off the debt because they know the number has lost it’s meaning in the face of such cartoonish proportions.

Even Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve knows this, essentially admitting that the economy is structured in such a way that the only way to survive is to keep adding debt.

“The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default.” ~Alan Greenspan

But who do we owe, and who’s doing all the borrowing?

In an article on this by Bloomberg, Andrew Mayeda lays the blame for such high numbers on an increase in private sector debt along with the fallout of the economic crisis of 2008.

“Surging private-sector debt, particularly in China, is driving the build-up. China has accounted for almost three-quarters of the increase in private debt since the global financial crisis, according to the fund.

The IMF figures lay bare the scale of the debt hangover from which the world is still recovering a decade after the financial crisis pushed the global banking system to the brink and tipped the world economy into recession. Governments increased spending to boost growth, while central banks resorted to unconventional methods to ease financing conditions, such as buying bonds.” [Source]

What is not said here is the how the debt bubble actually works.

Currency today is created by private institutions who create as much money as banks and governments desire. This money is created out of thin air, literally by punching a few keys on a computer and sending tiny currents of electricity to a screen which displays whatever number the private corporation wants. It is not backed by anything of value, yet these private institutions charge interest to governments and private sector borrowers.

For every dollar created and loaned, the magical money-lender demands that dollar back plus interest. Since the lender is demanding more than was created, it is mathematically impossible to ever pay off debt, because the interest simply just doesn’t exist.

This system ensures that the human race will always be in debt, and this system is the new slavery, meaning that when we owe money in this fashion we are not free to use the full power of our labor and resources to improve our communities and infrastructure. Instead, lending moves in the direction of the development of instability and weapons of war. Any time the lender wishes to flex its muscle it can create instant economic hardships by calling in this and making it more difficult to borrow money to service the debt.

The modern-day debt system maintains a tragic dramatic tension in the world, and on a planet with such abundant resources, you have to wonder with a global debt number so high, do the people of the planet owe each other, or are we really in debt to some type of off-planet entity?

This is a legitimate question, asked by researcher Catherine Austin Fitts, who wonders that with such astronomical numbers, it is possible that planet earth engaged in some type of trade with extra-terrestrials.

After years of investigative research into the trillions of dollars missing from the U.S. government, former Wall Street banker and former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in the first Bush Administration, Catherine Austin Fitts has come to the conclusion that global debt may very well be owned by off-planet entities who operate planet earth as a real estate investment.

“Is earth an open or closed economy? I went to business school, I worked on Wall Street for eleven years, you know I’ve been involved in the economy my whole life and the whole time I was invited to assume that earth was a closed economy. So, if we issued debt, then other humans owned that debt. If we issued stock, other humans owned that stock. But if you look at all the economic experiences I’ve had over my whole life, in government, businesses, everything else, what I will tell you is, you know, if you ask me to describe the economic model on planet earth, I would say, ‘well planet earth is a real estate investment trust because we’re paying a dividend some place every year, and I don’t know where it’s going. It’s going into that question mark, on the planetary balance sheet.” [Source]

Looking at global debt as a transaction between the planet and some other ET force makes a good bit of sense, as it definitely does not make sense for the human race to enslave itself to itself with such an insane system.

About the Author

Isaac Davis is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and OffgridOutpost.com Survival Tips blog. He is an outspoken advocate of liberty and of a voluntary society. He is an avid reader of history and passionate about becoming self-sufficient to break free of the control matrix. Follow him on Facebook, here.

This article (Global Debt is Now an Insane $164 Trillion, but Who Exactly Do We Owe?) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Isaac Davis and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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Underworld

5G Deception – How Big Wireless Led Us to Believe Cell Phones are Safe

Here is an interesting fact before you start reading:

“A five-year-old absorbs up to 60 per cent more radiation than an adult due largely to their thinner skulls and the high water content of a young body. In Western countries brain tumours have overtaken leukaemia as the most common cause of cancer in children.”

The disinformation campaign-and massive radiation increase-behind the 5G rollout.

Things didn’t end well between George Carlo and Tom Wheeler; the last time the two met face-to-face, Wheeler had security guards escort Carlo off the premises. As president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), Wheeler was the wireless industry’s point man in Washington. Carlo was the scientist handpicked by Wheeler to defuse a public-relations crisis that threatened to strangle his infant industry in its crib. This was back in 1993, when there were only six cell-phone subscriptions for every 100 adults in the United States. But industry executives were looking forward to a booming future.

Remarkably, cell phones had been allowed onto the US consumer market a decade earlier without any government safety testing. Now, some customers and industry workers were being diagnosed with cancer. In January 1993, David Reynard sued the NEC America Company, claiming that his wife’s NEC phone caused her lethal brain tumor. After Reynard appeared on national TV, the story went viral. A congressional subcommittee announced an investigation; investors began dumping their cell-phone stocks; and Wheeler and the CTIA swung into action.

A week later, Wheeler announced that his industry would pay for a comprehensive research program. Cell phones were already safe, Wheeler told reporters; the new research would simply “re-validate the findings of the existing studies.”

George Carlo seemed like a good bet to fulfill Wheeler’s mission. He was an epidemiologist who also had a law degree, and he’d conducted studies for other controversial industries. After a study funded by Dow Corning, Carlo had declared that breast implants posed only minimal health risks. With chemical-industry funding, he had concluded that low levels of dioxin, the chemical behind the Agent Orange scandal, were not dangerous. In 1995, Carlo began directing the industry-financed Wireless Technology Research project (WTR), whose eventual budget of $28.5 million made it the best-funded investigation of cell-phone safety to date.

Outside critics soon came to suspect that Carlo would be the front man for an industry whitewash. They cited his dispute with Henry Lai, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington, over a study that Lai had conducted examining whether cell-phone radiation could damage DNA. In 1999, Carlo and the WTR’s general counsel sent a letter to the university’s president urging that Lai be fired for his alleged violation of research protocols. Lai accused the WTR of tampering with his experiment’s results. Both Carlo and Lai deny the other’s accusations.

Critics also attacked what they regarded as the slow pace of WTR research. The WTR was merely “a confidence game” designed to placate the public but stall real research, according to Louis Slesin, editor of the trade publication Microwave News. “By dangling a huge amount of money in front of the cash-starved [scientific] community,” Slesin argued, “Carlo guaranteed silent obedience. Anyone who dared complain risked being cut off from his millions.” Carlo denies the allegation.

Whatever Carlo’s motives might have been, the documented fact is that he and Wheeler would eventually clash bitterly over the WTR’s findings, which Carlo presented to wireless-industry leaders on February 9, 1999. By that date, the WTR had commissioned more than 50 original studies and reviewed many more. Those studies raised “serious questions” about cell-phone safety, Carlo told a closed-door meeting of the CTIA’s board of directors, whose members included the CEOs or top officials of the industry’s 32 leading companies, including Apple, AT&T, and Motorola.

Carlo sent letters to each of the industry’s chieftains on October 7, 1999, reiterating that the WTR’s research had found the following: “The risk of rare neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain was more than doubled…in cell phone users”; there was an apparent “correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head”; and “the ability of radiation from a phone’s antenna to cause functional genetic damage [was] definitely positive….”

Carlo urged the CEOs to do the right thing: give consumers “the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume,” especially since some in the industry had “repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers including children.”

The very next day, a livid Tom Wheeler began publicly trashing Carlo to the media. In a letter he shared with the CEOs, Wheeler told Carlo that the CTIA was “certain that you have never provided CTIA with the studies you mention”-an apparent effort to shield the industry from liability in the lawsuits that had led to Carlo’s hiring in the first place. Wheeler charged further that the studies had not been published in peer-reviewed journals, casting doubt on their validity.

Wheeler’s tactics succeeded in dousing the controversy. Although Carlo had in fact repeatedly briefed Wheeler and other senior industry officials on the studies, which had indeed undergone peer review and would soon be published, reporters on the technology beat accepted Wheeler’s discrediting of Carlo and the WTR’s findings. (Wheeler would go on to chair the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the wireless industry. He agreed to an interview for this article but then put all of his remarks off the record, with one exception: his statement that he has always taken scientific guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration, which, he said, “has concluded, ‘the weight of scientific evidence had not linked cell phones with any health problems.’”)

Why, after such acrimony, Carlo was allowed to make one last appearance before the CTIA board is a mystery. Whatever the reason, Carlo flew to New Orleans in February 2000 for the wireless industry’s annual conference, where he submitted the WTR’s final report to the CTIA board. According to Carlo, Wheeler made sure that none of the hundreds of journalists covering the event could get anywhere near him.

When Carlo arrived, he was met by two seriously muscled men in plain clothes; the larger of the two let drop that he had recently left the Secret Service. The security men steered Carlo into a holding room, where they insisted he remain until his presentation. When summoned, Carlo found roughly 70 of the industry’s top executives waiting for him in silence. Carlo had spoken a mere 10 minutes when Wheeler abruptly stood, extended a hand, and said, “Thank you, George.” The two muscle men then ushered the scientist to a curbside taxi and waited until it pulled away.

In the years to come, the WTR’s cautionary findings would be replicated by numerous other scientists in the United States and around the world, leading the World Health Organization in 2011 to classify cell-phone radiation as a “possible” human carcinogen and the governments of Great Britain, France, and Israel to issue strong warnings on cell-phone use by children. But as the taxi carried Carlo to Louis Armstrong International Airport, the scientist wondered whether his relationship with the industry might have turned out differently if cell phones had been safety-tested before being allowed onto the consumer market, before profit took precedence over science. But it was too late: Wheeler and his fellow executives had made it clear, Carlo told The Nation, that “they would do what they had to do to protect their industry, but they were not of a mind to protect consumers or public health.”

This article does not argue that cell phones and other wireless technologies are necessarily dangerous; that is a matter for scientists to decide. Rather, the focus here is on the global industry behind cell phones-and the industry’s long campaign to make people believe that cell phones are safe.

That campaign has plainly been a success: 95 out of every 100 adult Americans now own a cell phone; globally, three out of four adults have cell-phone access, with sales increasing every year. The wireless industry is now one of the fastest-growing on Earth and one of the biggest, boasting annual sales of $440 billion in 2016.

Carlo’s story underscores the need for caution, however, particularly since it evokes eerie parallels with two of the most notorious cases of corporate deception on record: the campaigns by the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries to obscure the dangers of smoking and climate change, respectively. Just as tobacco executives were privately told by their own scientists (in the 1960s) that smoking was deadly, and fossil-fuel executives were privately told by their own scientists (in the 1980s) that burning oil, gas, and coal would cause a “catastrophic” temperature rise, so Carlo’s testimony reveals that wireless executives were privately told by their own scientists (in the 1990s) that cell phones could cause cancer and genetic damage.

Carlo’s October 7, 1999, letters to wireless-industry CEOs are the smoking-gun equivalent of the November 12, 1982, memo that M.B. Glaser, Exxon’s manager of environmental-affairs programs, sent to company executives explaining that burning oil, gas, and coal could raise global temperatures by a destabilizing 3 degrees Celsius by 2100. For the tobacco industry, Carlo’s letters are akin to the 1969 proposal that a Brown & Williamson executive wrote for countering anti-tobacco advocates. “Doubt is our product,” the memo declared. “It is also the means of establishing a controversy…at the public level.”

Like their tobacco and fossil-fuel brethren, wireless executives have chosen not to publicize what their own scientists have said about the risks of their products. On the contrary, the industry-in America, Europe, and Asia-has spent untold millions of dollars in the past 25 years proclaiming that science is on its side, that the critics are quacks, and that consumers have nothing to fear. This, even as the industry has worked behind the scenes-again like its Big Tobacco counterpart-to deliberately addict its customers. Just as cigarette companies added nicotine to hook smokers, so have wireless companies designed cell phones to deliver a jolt of dopamine with each swipe of the screen.

This Nation investigation reveals that the wireless industry not only made the same moral choices that the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries did; it also borrowed from the same public-relations playbook those industries pioneered. The playbook’s key insight is that an industry doesn’t have to win the scientific argument about safety; it only has to keep the argument going. That amounts to a win for the industry, because the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, even as it fends off government regulations and lawsuits that might pinch profits.

Central to keeping the scientific argument going is making it appear that not all scientists agree. Again like the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries, the wireless industry has “war gamed” science, as a Motorola internal memo in 1994 phrased it. War-gaming science involves playing offense as well as defense: funding studies friendly to the industry while attacking studies that raise questions; placing industry-friendly experts on advisory bodies like the World Health Organization; and seeking to discredit scientists whose views depart from the industry’s.

Funding friendly research has perhaps been the most important component of this strategy, because it conveys the impression that the scientific community truly is divided. Thus, when studies have linked wireless radiation to cancer or genetic damage-as Carlo’s WTR did in 1999; as the WHO’s Interphone study did in 2010; and as the US National Toxicology Program did in 2016-industry spokespeople can point out, accurately, that other studies disagree. “[T]he overall balance of the evidence” gives no cause for alarm, asserted Jack Rowley, research and sustainability director for the Groupe Special Mobile Association (GSMA), Europe’s wireless trade association, speaking to reporters about the WHO’s findings.

A closer look reveals the industry’s sleight of hand. When Henry Lai, the professor whom Carlo tried to get fired, analyzed 326 safety-related studies completed between 1990 and 2005, he learned that 56 percent found a biological effect from cell-phone radiation and 44 percent did not; the scientific community apparently was split. But when Lai recategorized the studies according to their funding sources, a different picture emerged: 67 percent of the independently funded studies found a biological effect, while a mere 28 percent of the industry-funded studies did. Lai’s findings were replicated by a 2007 analysis in Environmental Health Perspectives that concluded industry-funded studies were two and a half times less likely than independent studies to find a health effect.

One key player has not been swayed by all this wireless-friendly research: the insurance industry. The Nation has not been able to find a single insurance company willing to sell a product-liability policy that covered cell-phone radiation. “Why would we want to do that?” one executive chuckled before pointing to more than two dozen lawsuits outstanding against wireless companies, demanding a total of $1.9 billion in damages. Some judges have affirmed such lawsuits, including a judge in Italy who refused to allow industry-funded research as evidence.

Even so, the industry’s neutralizing of the safety issue has opened the door to the biggest, most hazardous prize of all: the proposed revolutionary transformation of society dubbed the “Internet of Things.” Lauded as a gigantic engine of economic growth, the Internet of Things will not only connect people through their smartphones and computers but will connect those devices to a customer’s vehicles and home appliances, even their baby’s diapers-all at speeds faster than can currently be achieved.

There is a catch, though: The Internet of Things will require augmenting today’s 4G technology with 5G, thus “massively increasing” the general population’s exposure to radiation, according to a petition signed by 236 scientists worldwide who have published more than 2,000 peer-reviewed studies and represent “a significant portion of the credentialed scientists in the radiation research field,” according to Joel Moskowitz, the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, who helped circulate the petition. Nevertheless, like cell phones, 5G technology is on the verge of being introduced without pre-market safety testing.

Lack of definitive proof that a technology is harmful does not mean the technology is safe, yet the wireless industry has succeeded in selling this logical fallacy to the world. In truth, the safety of wireless technology has been an unsettled question since the industry’s earliest days. The upshot is that, over the past 30 years, billions of people around the world have been subjected to a massive public-health experiment: Use a cell phone today, find out later if it causes cancer or genetic damage. Meanwhile, the wireless industry has obstructed a full and fair understanding of the current science, aided by government agencies that have prioritized commercial interests over human health and news organizations that have failed to inform the public about what the scientific community really thinks. In other words, this public-health experiment has been conducted without the informed consent of its subjects, even as the industry keeps its thumb on the scale.

“The absence of absolute proof does not mean the absence of risk,” Annie Sasco, the former director of epidemiology for cancer prevention at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told the attendees of the 2012 Childhood Cancer conference. “The younger one starts using cell phones, the higher the risk,” Sasco continued, urging a public-education effort to inform parents, politicians, and the press about children’s exceptional susceptibility.

For adults and children alike, the process by which wireless radiation may cause cancer remains uncertain, but it is thought to be indirect. Wireless radiation has been shown to damage the blood-brain barrier, a vital defense mechanism that shields the brain from carcinogenic chemicals elsewhere in the body (resulting, for example, from secondhand cigarette smoke). Wireless radiation has also been shown to interfere with DNA replication, a proven progenitor of cancer. In each of these cases, the risks are higher for children: Their skulls, being smaller, absorb more radiation than adults’ skulls do, while children’s longer life span increases their cumulative exposure.

The wireless industry has sought to downplay concerns about cell phones’ safety, and the Federal Communications Commission has followed its example. In 1996, the FCC established cell-phone safety levels based on “specific absorption rate,” or SAR. Phones were required to have a SAR of 1.6 watts or less per kilogram of body weight. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised the FCC that its guidelines “do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.” Nevertheless, the FCC has declined to update its standards.

The FCC has granted the industry’s wishes so often that it qualifies as a “captured agency,” argued journalist Norm Alster in a report that Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics published in 2015. The FCC allows cell-phone manufacturers to self-report SAR levels, and does not independently test industry claims or require manufacturers to display the SAR level on a phone’s packaging. “Industry controls the FCC through a soup-to-nuts stranglehold that extends from its well-placed campaign spending in Congress through its control of the FCC’s congressional oversight committees to its persistent agency lobbying,” Alster wrote. He also quoted the CTIA website praising the FCC for “its light regulatory touch.”

The revolving-door syndrome that characterizes so many industries and federal agencies reinforces the close relationship between the wireless industry and the FCC. Just as Tom Wheeler went from running the CTIA (1992- 2004) to chairing the FCC (2013-2017), Meredith Atwell Baker went from FCC commissioner (2009-2011) to the presidency of the CTIA (2014 through today). To ensure its access on Capitol Hill, the wireless industry made $26 million in campaign contributions in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and spent $87 million on lobbying in 2017.

Neutralizing the safety issue has been an ongoing imperative because the research keeps coming, much of it from outside the United States. But the industry’s European and Asian branches have, like their US counterpart, zealously war-gamed the science, spun the news coverage, and thereby warped the public perception of their products’ safety.

The WHO began to study the health effects of electric- and magnetic-field radiation (EMF) in 1996 under the direction of Michael Repacholi, an Australian biophysicist. Although Repacholi claimed on disclosure forms that he was “independent” of corporate influence, in fact Motorola had funded his research: While Repacholi was director of the WHO’s EMF program, Motorola paid $50,000 a year to his former employer, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, which then transferred the money to the WHO program. When journalists exposed the payments, Repacholi denied that there was anything untoward about them because Motorola had not paid him personally. Eventually, Motorola’s payments were bundled with other industry contributions and funneled through the Mobile and Wireless Forum, a trade association that gave the WHO’s program $150,000 annually. In 1999, Repacholi helped engineer a WHO statement that “EMF exposures below the limits recommended in international guidelines do not appear to have any known consequence on health.”

Two wireless trade associations contributed $4.7 million to the Interphone study launched by the WHO’s International Agency for Cancer Research in 2000. That $4.7 million represented 20 percent of the $24 million budget for the Interphone study, which convened 21 scientists from 13 countries to explore possible links between cell phones and two common types of brain tumor: glioma and meningioma. The money was channeled through a “firewall” mechanism intended to prevent corporate influence on the IACR’s findings, but whether such firewalls work is debatable. “Industry sponsors know [which scientists] receive funding; sponsored scientists know who provides funding,” Dariusz Leszczynski, an adjunct professor of biochemistry at the University of Helsinki, has explained.

To be sure, the industry could not have been pleased with some of the Interphone study’s conclusionsThe study found that the heaviest cell-phone users were 80 percent more likely to develop glioma. (The initial finding of 40 percent was increased to 80 to correct for selection bias.) The Interphone study also concluded that individuals who had owned a cell phone for 10 years or longer saw their risk of glioma increase by nearly 120 percent. However, the study did not find any increased risk for individuals who used their cell phones less frequently; nor was there evidence of any connection with meningioma.

When the Interphone conclusions were released in 2010, industry spokespeople blunted their impact by deploying what experts on lying call “creative truth-telling.” “Interphone’s conclusion of no overall increased risk of brain cancer is consistent with conclusions reached in an already large body of scientific research on this subject,” John Walls, the vice president for public affairs at the CTIA, told reporters. The wiggle word here is “overall”: Since some of the Interphone studies did not find increased brain-cancer rates, stipulating “overall” allowed Walls to ignore those that did. The misleading spin confused enough news organizations that their coverage of the Interphone study was essentially reassuring to the industry’s customers. The Wall Street Journal announced “Cell Phone Study Sends Fuzzy Signal on Cancer Risk,” while the BBC’s headline declared: “No Proof of Mobile Cancer Risk.”

The industry’s $4.7 million contribution to the WHO appears to have had its most telling effect in May 2011, when the WHO convened scientists in Lyon, France, to discuss how to classify the cancer risk posed by cell phones. The industry not only secured “observer” status at Lyon for three of its trade associations; it placed two industry-funded experts on the working group that would debate the classification, as well as additional experts among the “invited specialists” who advised the group.

Niels Kuster, a Swiss engineer, initially filed a conflict-of-interest statement affirming only that his research group had taken money from “various governments, scientific institutions and corporations.” But after Kuster co-authored a summary of the WHO’s findings in The Lancet Oncology, the medical journal issued a correction expanding on Kuster’s conflict-of-interest statement, noting payments from the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, GSMA, and Deutsche Telekom. Nevertheless, Kuster participated in the entire 10 days of deliberations.

The industry also mounted a campaign to discredit Lennart Hardell, a Swedish professor of oncology serving on the working group. Hardell’s studies, which found an increase in gliomas and acoustic neuromas in long-term cell-phone users, were some of the strongest evidence that the group was considering.

Hardell had already attracted the industry’s displeasure back in 2002, when he began arguing that children shouldn’t use cell phones. Two scientists with industry ties quickly published a report with the Swedish Radiation Authority dismissing Hardell’s research. His detractors were John D. Boice and Joseph K. McLaughlin of the International Epidemiology Institute, a company that provided “Litigation Support” and “Corporate Counseling” to various industries, according to its website. Indeed, at the very time Boice and McLaughlin were denigrating Hardell’s work, the institute was providing expert-witness services to Motorola in a brain-tumor lawsuit against the company.

The wireless industry didn’t get the outcome that it wanted at Lyon, but it did limit the damage. A number of the working group’s scientists had favored increasing the classification of cell phones to Category 2A, a “probable” carcinogen; but in the end, the group could only agree on an increase to 2B, a “possible” carcinogen.

That result enabled the industry to continue proclaiming that there was no scientifically established proof that cell phones are dangerous. Jack Rowley of the GSMA trade association said that “interpretation should be based on the overall balance of the evidence.” Once again, the slippery word “overall” downplayed the significance of scientific research that the industry didn’t like.

Industry-funded scientists had been pressuring their colleagues for a decade by then, according to Leszczynski, another member of the Lyon working group. Leszczynski was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School when he first experienced such pressure, in 1999. He had wanted to investigate the effects of radiation levels higher than the SAR levels permitted by government, hypothesizing that this might better conform to real-world practices. But when he proposed the idea at scientific meetings, Leszczynski said, it was shouted down by Mays Swicord, Joe Elder, and C.K. Chou-scientists who worked for Motorola. As Leszczynski recalled, “It was a normal occurrence at scientific meetings-and I attended really a lot of them-that whenever [a] scientist reported biological effects at SAR over [government-approved levels], the above-mentioned industry scientists, singularly or as a group, jumped up to the microphone to condemn and to discredit the results.”

Years later, a study that Leszczynski described as a “game changer” discovered that even phones meeting government standards, which in Europe were a SAR of 2.0 watts per kilogram, could deliver exponentially higher peak radiation levels to certain skin and blood cells. (SAR levels reached a staggering 40 watts per kilogram-20 times higher than officially permitted.) In other words, the official safety levels masked dramatically higher exposures in hot spots, but industry-funded scientists obstructed research on the health impacts.

“Everyone knows that if your research results show that radiation has effects, the funding flow dries up,” Leszczynski said in an interview in 2011. Sure enough, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland, where Leszczynski had a long career, discontinued research on the biological effects of cell phones and discharged him a year later.

According to scientists involved in the process, the WHO may decide later this year to reconsider its categorization of the cancer risk posed by cell phones; the WHO itself told The Nation that before making any such decision, it will review the final report of the National Toxicology Program, a US government initiative. The results reported by the NTP in 2016 seem to strengthen the case for increasing the assessment of cell-phone radiation to a “probable” or even a “known” carcinogen. Whereas the WHO’s Interphone study compared the cell-phone usage of people who had contracted cancer with that of people who hadn’t, the NTP study exposed rats and mice to cell-phone radiation and observed whether the animals got sick.

“There is a carcinogenic effect,” announced Ron Melnick, the designer of the study. Male rats exposed to cell-phone radiation developed cancer at a substantially higher rate, though the same effect was not seen in female rats. Rats exposed to radiation also had lower birth rates, higher infant mortality, and more heart problems than those in the control group. The cancer effect occurred in only a small percentage of the rats, but that small percentage could translate into a massive amount of human cancers. “Given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communications devices, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease…could have broad implications for public health,” the NTP’s draft report explained.

But this was not the message that media coverage of the NTP study conveyed, as the industry blanketed reporters with its usual “more research is needed” spin. “Seriously, stop with the irresponsible reporting on cell phones and cancer,” demanded a Voxheadline. “Don’t Believe the Hype,” urged The Washington PostNewsweek, for its part, stated the NTP’s findings in a single paragraph, then devoted the rest of the article to an argument for why they should be ignored.

The NTP study was to be peer-reviewed at a meeting on March 26-28, amid signs that the program’s leadership is pivoting to downplay its findings. The NTP had issued a public-health warning when the study’s early results were released in 2016. But when the NTP released essentially the same data in February 2018, John Bucher, the senior scientist who directed the study, announced in a telephone press conference that “I don’t think this is a high-risk situation at all,” partly because the study had exposed the rats and mice to higher levels of radiation than a typical cell-phone user experienced.

Microwave News‘s Slesin speculated on potential explanations for the NTP’s apparent backtracking: new leadership within the program, where a former drug-company executive, Brian Berridge, now runs the day-to-day operations; pressure from business-friendly Republicans on Capitol Hill and from the US military, whose weapons systems rely on wireless radiation; and the anti-science ideology of the Trump White House. The question now: Will the scientists doing the peer review endorse the NTP’s newly ambivalent perspective, or challenge it?

The scientific evidence that cell phones and wireless technologies in general can cause cancer and genetic damage is not definitive, but it is abundant and has been increasing over time. Contrary to the impression that most news coverage has given the public, 90 percent of the 200 existing studies included in the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed database on the oxidative effects of wireless radiation-its tendency to cause cells to shed electrons, which can lead to cancer and other diseases-have found a significant impact, according to a survey of the scientific literature conducted by Henry Lai. Seventy-two percent of neurological studies and 64 percent of DNA studies have also found effects.

The wireless industry’s determination to bring about the Internet of Things, despite the massive increase in radiation exposure this would unleash, raises the stakes exponentially. Because 5G radiation can only travel short distances, antennas roughly the size of a pizza box will have to be installed approximately every 250 feet to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone,” said Moskowitz, the UC Berkeley researcher. “So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7.”

There is an alternative approach, rooted in what some scientists and ethicists call the “precautionary principle,” which holds that society doesn’t need absolute proof of hazard to place limits on a given technology. If the evidence is sufficiently solid and the risks sufficiently great, the precautionary principle calls for delaying the deployment of that technology until further research clarifies its impacts. The scientists’ petitiondiscussed earlier urges government regulators to apply the precautionary principle to 5G technology. Current safety guidelines “protect industry-not health,” contends the petition, which “recommend[s] a moratorium on the roll-out of [5G]…until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.”

No scientist can say with certainty how many wireless-technology users are likely to contract cancer, but that is precisely the point: We simply don’t know. Nevertheless, we are proceeding as if we do know the risk, and that the risk is vanishingly small. Meanwhile, more and more people around the world, including countless children and adolescents, are getting addicted to cell phones every day, and the shift to radiation-heavy 5G technology is regarded as a fait accompli. Which is just how Big Wireless likes it.

About the authors

Mark Hertsgaard The Nation’s environment correspondent and investigative editor, is the author of seven books, including HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.

Mark Dowie, an investigative historian based outside Willow Point, California, is the author of the new book, The Haida Gwaii Lesson: A Strategic Playbook for Indigenous Sovereignty.

Mark Hertsgaard & Mark Dowie
The Nation
© Illustration by Don Carroll


Some extra information you might find interesting:

In February the French government banned Wi-Fi in nursery schools and restricted use in primary schools. The German government has recommended that the use of Wi-Fi in the workplace or home should be avoided where possible. LA has reduced student exposure to Wi-Fi radiation to 10,000 times below US government standard.

In 2000, a report commissioned by the Government concluded that no school should fall within 100 metres of a mobile phone mast; in 2007 a BBC Panorama programme found that the readings next to a classroom laptop showed radiation at double the level only 100 metres from a mobile phone mast.

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