While selling 5G technology to the public as a means for faster downloads, Big Wireless — comprising a web of telecom companies, lobbyists and law firms– is spending millions to lobby governments the world over to implement the next generation of cellular technology because of its potential for data collection and surveillance of citizens.
by Derrick Broze
Part 4 - A History of Big Wireless Bullying and Corruption
In 2018, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut exposed that Big Wireless and the FCC have failed to adequately fund independent studies into the health effects of emerging 5G technology. At a Senate Commerce committee hearing, Blumenthal questioned Brad Gillen, Executive Director of the CTIA, about the absence of this research.
"How much money has the industry committed to supporting additional independent research—I stress independent—research? And we’re talking about research on the biological effects of this new technology,” Blumenthal asked. To which Gillen responded, “There are no industry backed studies to my knowledge right now.”
At the end of the exchange, Blumenthal concluded, “So there really is no research ongoing. We’re kind of flying blind here, as far as health and safety is concerned.”
One of the reasons Americans are “flying blind”, as Blumenthal stated, is because of a history of pressure and defunding of researchers who reached conclusions which were at odds with the official line of the wireless industry: cell phones and wireless devices do not cause harm to humans or animal life.
During the 1990’s, biochemist Jerry Phillips was hired by cell phone giant Motorola to study the effects of the radiofrequency radiation emitted by cell phones. Phillips previously worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pettis VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, California and is currently the director of the Excel Science Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His team looked at the effects of different RF signals on rats and on cells in a dish. In the documentary Public Exposure, Phillips says the relationship between him and his employer was initially cordial but soured once he submitted research data to Motorola which found that exposure to radio-frequency radiation produced by cell phones caused damage to the DNA structure. The negative results were not to Motorola’s liking and they began putting pressure on him.
"These folks were very, very upset, and began to talk about how they are going to handle this, what sort of spin can we put on this, what can we expect from this. From that point on the relationship changed,” Phillips states in the documentary. “What we saw was that Motorola began to exert more and more control over the work. Telling us what to do, telling us how to write abstracts, what to say in the abstracts, what to say in the papers, how to do the work. No, don’t do this. Yes, do it this way. This was unacceptable.”
Phillips describes how Motorola was unwilling to accept his study and urged him not to publish it. Despite the pleas, Phillips published his study in the Journal of Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics in 1998 and ceased his work with Motorola. Phillips cautioned that independent research on cell phones is sparse because “there is no money available for research other than what’s coming from industry.”
In another example of industry attempting to influence research, Dr. Henry Lai, the University of Washington, and fellow researcher Narendra Singh were looking at the effects of nonionizing radiation – the same type of radiation emitted by cell phones and 5G – on the DNA of rats. The researchers found that the DNA in the brain cells of the rats was broken by exposure to radiation. Dr. Lai’s experiments showed negative health consequences at levels considered safe by the FCC.
After publishing the research in 1995, Dr. Lai would later learn of a “full-scale effort” to discredit the experiments. At some point Motorola became aware of Lai’s unpublished results showing harm from cell phone radiation. In a leaked internal Motorola memo executives claimed to have succeeded in “War-Gaming ” and undermining the Lai-Singh experiments. Lai and Singh caused further controversy when they publicly complained that their funders, the Wireless Technology Research (WTR) program, had placed restrictions on their work.. In response to the complaints, George Carlo, the head of the WTR, sent a memo asking Richard McCormick, president of University of Washington at the time, to fire Lai and Singh. McCormick refused, but a clear message had been sent to the researchers.
"This shocked me. The letter trying to discredit me, the ‘war games’ memo,” Lai told Seattle Mag. “As a scientist doing research, I was not expecting to be involved in a political situation. It opened my eyes on how games are played in the world of business. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. The pressure is very impressive.”
Once again, the fingerprints of the CTIA are found in this attempt at suppressing unfavorable studies. Carlo had recently been appointed head of the WTR after the FCC and the CTIA promised to fund research into the dangers of cell phones. The move came in 1993 after David Reynard sued the NEC America company because he blamed his wife’s lethal tumor on their phone. Reynard’s story became a national sensation, leading to a congressional investigation. Wheeler claimed the new studies would “re-validate the findings of the existing studies.” Soon after, Carlo would ask the University of Washington to defund Lai for alleged violations of research protocols and Lai would accuse the WTR of interfering with his experiments. Eventually, Carlo himself would have a falling out with the FCC and rebrand himself as a whistleblower. He also accused the FCC and the CTIA of covering up evidence of cell phone harms.