Coronavirus: Attacks On Phone Masts Surge Over Easter

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Thank you, foolish celebrities. Attacks on mobile phone towers surge over Easter, with one attack on a tower serving Birmingham’s Nightingale hospital

There has been a surge in attacks on mobile phone towers or masts over the Easter weekend, with a further 20 suspected arson cases being reported.

This is on top of at least 20 mobile phone masts across the UK being torched or otherwise vandalised the previous week. Those damaged mobile phones masts were reportedly clustered mostly around Liverpool and the West Midlands.

The attacks on mobile infrastructure stem from the false conspiracy theory that 5G is behind the Coronavirus pandemic. Matters have not been helped by ill-informed and foolish celebrities wading in on the subject.

Mindless attacks

The BBC quoted trade group Mobile UK as saying that it had been notified of incidents in England, Wales and Scotland.

Police have reportedly arrested three men on suspicion of arson after a phone mast was on fire in Dagenham, Essex.

The BBC also reported that police in Huddersfield are trying to determine exactly how a phone mast came to be on fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The fire destroyed communications equipment used by the emergency services as well as three mobile phone network providers, the local fire service reportedly said.

Vodafone UK’s chief executive Nick Jeffery took to LinkedIn to reveal that one of the attacked towers provides mobile connectivity to the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham, denying family the ability to say their goodbyes remotely to loved ones.

“It is deeply disappointing to learn that arsonists are still attacking our mobile phone masts – that’s 20 so far,” wrote Jeffery. “One of the sites targeted over the weekend provides mobile connectivity to the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham.”

“It’s heart-rending enough that families cannot be there at the bedside of loved ones who are critically ill,” wrote Jeffery. “It’s even more upsetting that even the small solace of a phone or video call may now be denied them because of the selfish actions of a few deluded conspiracy theorists.”

“Burning down masts means damaging important national infrastructure,” he added. “In practice, this means families not being able to say a final goodbye to their loved ones; hard-working doctors, nurses, and police officers not being able to phone their kids, partners or parents for a comforting chat.”

“Arsonists, please think about what you are doing and stop,” said Jeffery. “Imagine if it were your mum or dad, your gran or grandad in hospital. Imagine not being able to see or hear them one last time. All because you’ve swallowed a dangerous lie.”

“There is absolutely no link between 5G and coronavirus,” he concluded. “There is no science based evidence 5G is harmful to human health.”

Engineers assaulted

Meanwhile BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen, who himself was struck down with Coronvirus, wrote an article for the Mail on Sunday in which he pleaded for the “mindless idiots who truly believe that 5G and Covid-19 are linked” to stop their attacks.

“When I first began to assess the potential impact of Covid-19 on our customers, our colleagues and our business, this was a situation that I never imagined: that our engineers and our networks would be under attack from people who truly believe, somehow, that 5G and Covid-19 are linked,” wrote Jansen.

“Yet as I write this, 39 engineers have been verbally or physically assaulted – including threats to kill,” he added. “11 of our mobile masts have been destroyed or damaged through arson – and 33 across all operators in the UK so far.”

“Everything about this is senseless,” Jansen wrote. “There’s no thought for the validity of the theories – many openly contradict themselves; all ignore the very basic principles of science.”

“Some go so far as to assume that Covid-19 is an entirely fabricated virus; nothing but a cover-up for 5G. Oh, and by the way, most of the sites attacked don’t even carry 5G,” he added.

Jansen said that BT has seen telephone poles wrapped in barbed wire to stop its engineers doing their job.

“Those poles carry fixed phone lines, they’re nothing to do with mobile,” he said.

“We all need to be able to recognise conspiracy theories, and to stop them before they become harmful,” said Jansen. “They are just like a virus – if we starve them of the ability to reach new people, they will die out, and we can all focus on coming together as one nation to get through these most challenging of times.

Last week YouTube banned all conspiracy theory videos that falsely link 5G networks to the spread of Coronavirus.

Foolish celebrities

The damage to mobile phone masts at a time like this, when a global pandemic has triggered heavy reliance on communication technology, beggars belief.

Matters have not been helped by ill-informed celebrities who have highlighted the false link between 5G and Coronavirus.

ITV’s This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes, on Monday cast doubts on media reports that debunk the false rumour that 5G causes the virus “when they don’t know it’s not true.”

He faced hundreds of complaints and Ofcom is now investigating his comments ‘as a priority’, but the television presentator later issued a half hearted retraction.

Last month an American singer/songwriter claimed 5G networks were to blame for the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. She subsequently retracted her claims.

Other celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, including Amanda Holden who tweeted a link to an anti-5G petition to her almost 2 million followers.

Boxer Amir Khan, actor Woody Harrelson, and even conspiracy theorist David Icke have published similar claims. Indeed, Icke had live-streamed an interview on YouTube, in which he had linked the technology to the pandemic.

Last month experts at the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) declared that 5G was safe for human health.

ICNIRP is based in Germany, and it is the international body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation.

Earlier this year the UK communications regulator Ofcom carried out safety tests in the UK of 5G base stations and found that there is no danger to the public posed by electromagnetic energy (EME) levels.

How much do you know about UK mobile operators? Try our quiz!

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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