Bloggers and profs blame each other for puppet behavior

War on 5G: remarkable group of scientists stirs

Online link Oorlog om 5G: opvallende groep wetenschappers roert zich

Jannes van Roermund and Paul Thacker, De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), Jun 2, 2020 (English translation)

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AMSTERDAM Do big corporations use science bloggers to silence critics who point to the health hazards of its products? Or is it actually law firms and NGOs who “corrupt scientists” to “fear” about their products? These allegations fly back and forth, as recently in the discussion of 5G.


Where previously physicians who denounced the effects of smoking or whistleblowers who published reports on the dangers of pesticides have been attacked, now dubious scientists are targeting scientists warning of the radiation hazard of the new high-speed Internet connection 5G, well-regarded academic experts say. 


“Although they do not enjoy any status in academia, they are able to influence the general public,” says Professor Ton Hol, chairman of the Committee on Scientific Integrity of the universities in Utrecht and Tilburg.


5G critic Prof. Joel Moskowitz of the University of California-Berkeley can confirm. When the professor of public health wrote that the telecom industry, with its paid experts, have always dismissed critical scientists as “fear mongers” in Scientific American, he immediately received a response. “Don’t fall victim to scare mongering,” researcher David Robert Grimes said in the same paper. According to him, Prof. Moskowitz lacks scientific evidence and the number of brain tumors have not increased significantly since people started making mobile calls.


David Grimes, who experts say has never conducted telephone radiation research, cooperated with Sense About Science, an organization accused by The Intercept and a The Guardian columnist of expressing favorable views of the industry. However, the organization says it does not promote specific technology: “We mainly want to stimulate critical thinking.”


David Grimes, who worked previously at Oxford University, says that he did a lot of research on cancer and therefore has a right to speak. He praises Sense About Science. “But I don’t get paid by them.”


Grimes isn’t the only publicist who downplays the potential danger of 5G, and previously defended pesticides. Also Alex Berezow, a director of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), attacks Prof. Moskowitz, calling him “a conspiracy thinker and charlatan,” adding an aluminum cap. Bottom line of the story: criticism of 5G is the work of lunatics.


But according to documents released in 2012 by an independent research group and the journal Mother Jones, ACSH was paid by a slew of multinationals.


French newspaper Le Monde called the Council “a propaganda website” that attacks critical scientists on behalf of the industry. As early as 1979, an FDA director spoke of “a facade, an industrial vehicle.”


“Things have changed since 2012,” says ACSH director Berezow on the allegations against his club. “Most of our budget comes from individuals and foundations, only 9% from corporations.”


Professor Ton Hol is clear in his opinion: “The phenomenon that people themselves have little understanding of a subject, but ridicule the input of other scientists and attacking the messenger, is very worrying. This gives the audience the message: you should not take all critical voices seriously. Nonsense, it has nothing to do with science, but people believe it,” said Professor Hol, advisor to European universities in the field of scientific integrity.


Some Dutch are also targets. For example, blogger David Zaruk or ‘The Risk-Monger’ attacks Wageningen-based agricultural researcher Jos Boesten and Utrecht-based risk expert Prof. Hans Kromhout. They were assessing the risk of pesticides for the EU and WHO. The blogger dismisses the danger.


David Zaruk parries that the multinationals are the target of attacks from a lawyer industry that “secretly funneling millions into corrupting scientists and NGOs to create evidence they can use for lawsuits against industry.”


His fellow blogger Hank Campbell, who is now targeting 5G critics after having done that to pesticide researchers, adds that scientists are “raising two thousand times more money” with “scaring people about pesticides or technology. Because telling people that their food is safe does not bring in donations, but scaring them about their food, chemicals and technology, does. ” Unlike radiation scientists, he is convinced that 5G cannot not cause any damage: “The radiation has less power than what you get from a light bulb or the monitor from your computer screen.”


KPN and Vodafone emphasize that 5G-radiation falls within the current security standards. Chairman Eric van Rongen of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) states that 5G radiation is safe because it warms the body less than the 1 degree limit.


Although there is no unanimity about the possible danger of radiation, it’s good, according to integrity professor Hol, that scientists and investigative journalists respond to the bloggers and publicists. “This has to be exposed.” Leiden integrity expert Toon Kerkhoff warns against what he calls “pseudoscience”. “Large corporations benefit from certain reporting. You have people who can be deployed for that.” Hank Campbell bounces back: “We can’t stop being smart because a few people on the fringe deny things.”

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