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39 BT Engineers Assaulted by “Mindless Idiot” 5G Conspiracy Theorists UPDATE

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 (12:39 pm) - Score 5,298
ee mobile tower mast uk

The CEO of broadband and mobile giant BT, Philip Jansen, has revealed that 39 engineers have been verbally or physically assaulted – including threats to kill – over the completely bonkers conspiracy theory that links the spread of COVID-19 to 5G (11 mobile masts have also been destroyed or damaged by arson – 33 from all UK operators).

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) it was still possible to at least understand those with fears about 5G, however unfounded, because they stemmed from having seen factually incorrect social media posts or crazy YouTube videos; all of which lacked much credible understanding of the basic science or existing research. People are often fearful of that which they can’t see or understand and so education is often the best response.

We have previously run a number of articles to fact check some of the 5G health claims (5G health claims fact check) and strongly recommend those with a concern take the time to read and understand those. Ofcom has also warned media organisations that they could face sanctions if found to be promoting the latest COVID-19 theory (here); one radio station has already been sanctioned (here) and Eamonn Holmes hasn’t helped (here).

At this point there are no words to express how sick and twisted the current situation has since become. At some point the 5G conspiracy theories have morph, again, with supporters essentially ignoring even common sense in a belief that 5G signals created or directly transmitted the Coronavirus. Both ideas are as preposterous as they are lacking in any credible scientific foundation (we’ve covered this in our fact check).

Leaving aside the fact that a biological virus couldn’t be more different from electromagnetic radio waves, or that COVID-19 is spreading just as fast in countries and areas with no 5G at all. The one sure way to actually hurt people during a very real global pandemic is by breaking the law, committing arson and cutting off the ability of people to communicate with family and friends.

On top of that we now have engineers facing both physical and verbal assault, as if COVID-19 wasn’t already a big enough risk to the vital work they’re doing in a time of crisis.

Philip Jansen said (This is Money):

“If you can’t call 999 or get through to a lonely parent to check they’re okay, it matters. If your link to family, friends and the outside world when you’re feeling truly isolated, gets destroyed because of a baseless and reckless conspiracy theory, it matters.

Everything about this is senseless. 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.

This week, we’ve seen telephone poles wrapped in barbed wire to stop our engineers doing their job. Those poles carry fixed phone lines, they’re nothing to do with mobile. It’s hard to know where to begin to use science, logic or reason to debunk something so devoid of reality.”

As before, we can only hope that the lockdown makes it easier for the Police to find and arrest those responsible for the damage to infrastructure and assaults. Meanwhile social media firms have finally begun to clamp down on the sources of such content, although the theory itself continues to spread.. ironically, not unlike a virus.

The impact of all this on the national network is currently said to be “minimal.”

NOTE: We’ve once again taken the rare action of disabling comments on this news item in order to avoid such conspiracy theorists from abusing the system in order to spread nonsense about COVID-19.

UPDATE 15th April 2020:

The trade body for mobile operators, Mobile UK, has reported that a further 20 suspected attacks against phone masts occurred right across the United Kingdom over the Easter Weekend alone (most were arson). Shockingly one of the targeted sites provided mobile connectivity to Birmingham’s Nightingale hospital for COVID-19 patients. At this point it has become difficult to express the sheer stupidity and utter insanity of it all.

One piece of good news was that, over the same period, there were no new reports of assaults against mobile engineers.

Nick Jeffery, CEO Vodafone UK, said:

“It is deeply disappointing to learn that arsonists are still attacking our mobile phone masts – that’s 20 so far. 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. 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. 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. 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. There is no science based evidence 5G is harmful to human health.”

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