Making a Killing
“The vilification of any research that might threaten corporate interests as ‘junk science’ and the sanctification of its own bought – and – paid – for research as ‘sound science’ is indeed Orwellian and nothing less than standard operating procedure today.” Michaels (2008, 43) https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/late-lessons-2
By Tunicia Phillips
Wifi has become so pervasive over the last decade or so that it now even has its own day – International WiFi Day – on June, 20. . It has truly become one of the 21st Century’s most adored technological advancements in communication. And yet, it is also important to remember that, as history has repeatedly shown, every positive advancement in society often has its own unique risks. Many a time has an industry steamrolled ahead without clearly establishing risks to our well-being only to pay an enormous cost in life at a later stage. All you have to do is look at the trajectory of tobacco, X-ray, uranium and asbestos for an inkling of the trend.
So, when it comes to WiFi, there are already those who feel it has the potential to head down the same track as the above and are doing their utmost to ensuring that this does not happen. This is the view of Swedish neuroscience Prof. Olle Johansson who wrote to the South African government about the dangers of WiFi, highlighting what he considers scientific red flags.
As you can imagine, with the various interests and industries impacted, there are conflicting views on the health and safety risks that come with WiFi and wireless communication devices. We seek to explore these in a series of articles and podcasts born out of a trip down the ‘rabbit hole’.
Being Electro-Hypersensitive (EHS)
The life of a canary
If you suffer from any allergies then you know that they can be an expensive inconvenience or even lethal. Increasingly, thousands of South Africans, and people around the world, are developing allergy-like symptoms said to come from being around cellphones and other mobile wireless devices. These symptoms come in the form of heart palpitations, head pain, seizures, dizziness, nausea, rashes and even blurred vision. Some experts say the list of immediate effects is in excess of 600. Over the last five years, I have been in contact with a number of these people and, while their geographical location, ethnicity, nationality, race and socio-economic statuses have differed vastly, the one commonality is being affected by mobile devices and wifi.
As a result, many seek out communities with limited cellphone network coverage and even electrical pylons when the effect of the microwaves around them become unbearable. They travel between these places of disconnected refuge and the families they leave behind. It is necessary for me to state upfront that, having been exposed to these stories, I do believe that we are all at risk after decades of exposure to radio microwaves from cellphones and wifi. But, to understand what is causing so many people to run from home and seek refuge in isolated areas, or underground daily, you need to understand how the technology works.
Electromagnetic radiation is a natural phenomenon. The earth is covered with it thanks to our solar system. Radio frequencies/ RF/ radio microwaves are part of the spectrum which stretches between dangerous ionised x–ray and nuclear radiation; to non-ionised radiation from RFs. As with a lot of technological advancements, this technology was developed by military in between and during war aimed at beating enemies. Radio communication was a critical part of war but there was another more sinister aspect that had little to do with spying and communicating. It was a weapon. This we shall explore at another time.
So who are these electro hypersensitive individuals? There’s Tracy-Lee Dorny who I first came into contact with in 2012 at a School Governing Body meeting at a school in Eldorado Park. At the time, there was a protest against the erection of a Cell C cellphone tower near the school with even teachers threatening to resign if the tower was erected.
Not content to suffer in silence, Dorny came to the meeting armed with research papers that detailed the risks from radio frequencies such as brain tumour, infertility, attention disorder and a whole host of eyebrow–raising effects. The response from the industry technicians and engineers was that they had worked with cell phone antennas for years and had not had any health problems but fell short of saying, definitively, that radio microwaves were completely safe around children, and the general population. In essence, they were toeing the industry PR rhetoric on this health issue, which I will also explore in detail in subsequent articles.
This is what Dorny had to say when I sat down with her at her Craighavon home, north of Johannesburg:
Dorny is the founder of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of South Africa. After winning an out-of-court settlement with iBurst for erecting and testing 4G technology in what could have been her backyard – it was that close – in 2011, Dorny began digging for information on what doctors, scientist, governments and the World Health Organisation was saying about the dangers of RF. Her settlement agreement with iBurst is protected by a confidentiality contract so she cannot speak on the details but her research reveals what could become one of the biggest industry-related health scandals of our time.
It tells the story of how the age of selfies, speed and digital lifestyle is dependent on a technology that can potentially disrupt the human DNA strand forever and how the providers, makers, etc. are turning a blind eye so they can continue to make a killing in their $3 trillion industry.
And then there’s Zakele Ganinda who I had to travel to meet in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A former Witbank-based construction company director Ganinda said he had to move away from his business to seek a less wireless saturated environment due to the effects he felt around mobile phones and wifi. He found sanctuary in his brother’s Kwa-Zulu Natal home, hidden in the green vegetation of Glenmore hills. Now unemployed and unable to continue his business, Ganinda says he has been everywhere for help to no avail.
Recently, I was included in an email correspondence between dozens of EHS victims who had reached out to one another to discuss their experiences with wifi. One of them, Karen Geranios has published three books of poetry, some describing what she calls the ‘life of canaries’, which alludes to a time when canaries used to be taken down into coal mines as a warning system. Canaries are sensitive to certain dangerous gases and so, when the canary dropped dead, miners knew it was time to get out. The frustration among these people was evident in their discussion. They have been bounced back and forth between all kinds of doctors and specialists who fail to help them. At the same time, many industry experts still deny that EHS is a condition at all and, as a result, liability has fallen on no one.
CANARY IN A COAL MINE
As time flows dictating days
My body subjected to dirty rays
Electro radiation powers modern living
Inescapable, invasive, unforgiving
I’m a biological barometer
“Manufacturers tell big lies”
My body screams a seizure cries
My spine a transmitter
Feeling its toxic poison
Harmful, painful, lethal
Iniquitous yet legal!!
You can’t feel it
You can’t see it
but it penetrates
You can’t hear it
It’s a silent execution
Weaving signals invading flesh
I’m a prisoner within its mesh
An expendable regugee
In search of a sanctuary
Karen Geranios ©
Amanda Collins is a resident in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town who lives in a house that is situated directly opposite a base station. Since the erection of a tower, Amanda has developed many of the symptoms associated with EHS. I spoke to her about her autistic daughter and how sensitivity to RF have impacted her life. This is her story:
It is also worth noting that no insurance company is prepared to insure the mobile and telecommunications industry for health risks. If all the EHS people around the world, and those exposed to RFs, claimed damages from the telecommunications industry, it would cripple the industry overnight. In 2013 insurance giant Swiss Re classified RF +ELF to be included in the highest observed risk classes. Lloyd of London followed suit in 2015.
The reality is that research needs to go from possibly harmful to probably harmful, and then again to harmful. This is how the International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies risk from RFs, and many other things. IARC declared RF possibly carcinogenic (cancerous) to humans in 2011; it is coded as a 2B classification. A 2A classification carries more weight and regards a risk as probably carcinogenic. Tobacco is classified as 1 because is proven to cause cancer without doubt. The declaration on RF was expected to be a game changer in the debate on whether RFs are safe or not but the mobile companies and network service providers quoted industry funded research that points to a more inconclusive stance on the health risks. The statements, paraphrased, are ‘there is no conclusive established risk, but we do not guarantee safety.’ You can find the classification here:
The Nuremberg Treaty was meant to end human scientific experiments without their consent. South Africa has ratified that treaty. The important question here is, if new generations of wifi technology are constantly being tested in different locations and risks have not been entirely established, does that not mean we are part of the biggest human experiment ever?
After World War 2 a court was set up in Nuremburg, Germany where former Nazis were convicted for crimes against humanity (the Jewish population) during the Holocaust. To ensure that history was never repeated, The Nuremburg Code (1947) established a set of ten ethical principles for human experimentation.
- The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.
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