NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND DIGITAL TRANSITION, THE TECHNOCRATIC ILLUSION IN THE LIGHT OF THE 5G

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PREAMBLE

The multiple signals that nature sends us as well as the general state of life and the Earth that hosts it indicate that we are in a period characterized by an unprecedented risk of extinction of the human species. The evidence is before our eyes: we are living through the sixth species extinction crisis and the first one caused by man, the previous one having been characterized by a massive extinction of animal and plant life, notably the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago.

 » A higher increase [de 2°C de la température moyenne] would entail the risk of catastrophic climate change leading most certainly to irreversible « points of no return », caused by phenomena such as the melting of the Greenland ice cap, the release of methane stored in the Arctic permafrost or the dieback of the Amazon rainforest(1) ». However, all studies show that we will exceed 2°C.  » It is very likely that the increase will be in the order of 4°C — and it is not excluded that it will reach 6°C. A rise of 4 to 6°C in global temperature would be dramatic. It would lead to a climate change out of control, capable of tipping the planet into a radically different state. The Earth would become a hell(2) ».  » The figures show that even rapid and sustained global action is unlikely to prevent the Earth’s temperature from rising by at least 3°C. The melting of the Greenland ice will lead to a rise in sea level of about 7 meters, dramatically redrawing the geography of the planet(3) ». The coral reef will soon be a distant memory, desertification is gaining ground everywhere, every day hundreds of hectares are deforested, species disappear forever.

At the social level, everything is the same, never has misery been so widespread: here, in the North, in the homes that survive or in our streets, with the homeless. Further afield, in countries that interest us only because they contain raw materials that allow the continuity of our  » non-negotiable  » lifestyles.

THE RUSH TO GET AHEAD WHEN THERE IS AN EMERGENCY

Either, we know these figures, facts and media images that end up eroding our morale. But while this knowledge should enjoin us to do everything to stop playing the game, turning off our TVs and recreating agoras everywhere to think about the future, in the context of a state of ecological emergency, the technocrats assure us the  » change in continuity « , promising the energy transition and the digital revolution, which are supposed to free us from the burden of work and ensure better communication between people. As Clive Hamilton explains,  » The world’s best climate scientists are now raising the alarm to a deafening level, because the deadline for action has almost expired, and yet it is as if the signal is inaudible to the human ear(4).

One of the miracles of this « transition » would be the 5G, a technology coming after the 4G and which will allow to reach speeds in term of mobile telecommunication of several gigabits of data per second. And like the wind, the rain and the tides, there will be no question of questioning it, except in the usual form of the show where everything is already written but where we are made to believe in the possibilities of influencing the plot of the story: the option of refusal not being foreseen, we will therefore do everything to make you feel that you want it. In September 2018, Qualcomm, an American company active in the field of mobile technology (turnover $25.3 billion(5)), did it not display the following message in Tout-Bruxelles, on the supports owned by the company JCDecaux:  » 5G will create many jobs. And our job is to create 5G « . From then on, there is no need for real contradictory debates. Telephone operators, politicians, media, committee set up by the Brussels Minister of the Environment, all are committed to 5G, some with doubts, others with confidence, but all convinced of what must be achieved. Our national channel, the RTBF, infatuated with the belief that  » you can’t stop progress « , illustrates under the argument of necessity the history that writes itself:  » But there is a timing to be respected. The European Commission wants every member state (and this also applies to Belgium) to have 5G coverage in at least one city by 2020. And by 2025, all urban areas will have to have 5G coverage. Including major roads. We are really in the home stretch(6) », before the wall…

At this level, we have not yet said anything about 5G. In view of the risks of the disappearance of our civilization, one could say to oneself that it is undoubtedly something formidable, an antidote, in a way, which will allow us to get out of it. What will this innovation really bring to mankind? We are close to nothingness:  » With 5G, users should be able to download a high-definition movie in less than a second (a task that can take 10 minutes with 4G). And wireless engineers say these networks will also spur the development of other new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality and the Internet of Things(7) ».

In short, we should always measure novelty by George Orwell’s question:  » Does this make me more or less human? If we can show all that this technology will take away from man, it is impossible to say what it will bring him and how it will make him more human, that is to say, capable of living fully in harmony with nature, of being satisfied with the minimum, of grasping and understanding what he lives, of getting closer to others without seeking to have more. What’s human about downloading a movie in less than a second?

GROWTH, AGAIN AND AGAIN

The only leitmotiv, growth, means more and more products from the exploitation of the land and the people of the « South », coming by planes, trucks, supertankers:  » The association between economic growth and progress is so deeply rooted in thinking — whether progressive or conservative, it is defended so vigorously, that it can only be based on a banal empirical link between increased material consumption and increased happiness of a country(8) ». Didn’t Dominique Leroy, former CEO of the telephone operator Proximus (a public company listed on the stock exchange, with the State as the main shareholder), go in this direction already in 2015, when she was invited to Parliament for a  » At the « hearing on the future Proximus policy « , she will come back with this litany of « delay »:

 » Europe is currently lagging behind America and Asia in terms of technological developments and the level of investment in ICT. This decrease [of the growth in Europe’s digital revenues] is mainly due to overly strict legislation, which hinders innovation(9). The argument is always the same: one compares oneself to the other and deduces that one must go faster(10). Then, the causes of the delay are identified («  too strict standards  ») and pressure is applied (lobbying, media propaganda, distribution of various « benefits », setting up of committees endorsed by governments). In this process, economic necessity is the law:  » Although price levels are important, there is a need for continuous investment in the digital economy (…) Only by investing and innovating is it possible to generate growth .

Neither the common good nor the environment are ever invoked as higher principles(11). And this is only logical, because one cannot ensure economic growth and the common good at the same time. The element that dominates everything is the principle of growth, and therefore profit:  » The deployment of 5G requires a densification of the network, which means that in concrete terms, additional antennas must be installed . We are no longer in the realm of proposals that will have to be weighed later in a democratic debate, but in that of order, where reality will only have to adapt:

 » Innovation, especially the Internet of things (IOF), including mobility and cybersecurity, will radically change the telecom landscape.  » The landscape is thought out, all that remains is to find the painters. However, it is necessary to persuade the subjects that the painters are busy only for them and constantly ensure the spectacle of the common good by resorting to the professionals of the communication:  » Proximus’ mission is to keep people permanently connected to the world so that they can live better and work smarter .

PREPARE THE SUBJECT

September 11, 2018:  » The strategic committee officially handed over the National Pact for Strategic Investments (NPSI) to Prime Minister Charles Michel on Tuesday, during a ceremony with great pomp and circumstance, held in the renovated Museum of Africa in Tervuren (12)a plan that weighs 150 billion projects by 2030(13). This strategic plan is mainly based on investments that are essential if Belgium wants to  » take the digital high-speed train  » (sic). On the subject of the strategic committee, Charles Michel will speak of  » a panel of non-political experts  » who will make  » concrete proposals to the various governments of the country « . He plays the game of unity, where the common good would be expressed from the outset, overshadowing all the employers’ interests:  » When we talk about energy transition or mobility, we are talking to the 11 million Belgians « . Of course, it is for the good of all of us, but under no circumstances could we refuse it:  » New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, will radically change all facets of our lives and work, as well as society as a whole. The digital revolution is both a factor of disruption and an engine of growth for our economy(14) ». On the fact of  » to bring together private and public decision-makers « with of the budgets of the different entities of the country, with the approval of the parliaments and the private sector « , the son of Louis will not explain this brutal conversion of the private sector, suddenly oblivious of the return on investment, henceforth concerned only with the good of the  » 11 million Belgians « . An astonishing conversion, to say the least…(15)

Five sectors will benefit from this « Eldorado »: mobility, energy, education, telecoms and health. Your well-being as the measure of all things, the media-political-patronal complex will do everything to convince you of this, starting by presenting you with all that we would lose if it did not take place:  » Without it, it would be a loss of prosperity of the order of 50 billion € « . This will be « for the benefit of everyone, and first of all, of our citizens  » (16), Charles Michel repeats, if we had not understood him. These citizens, who have been fed media propaganda for years, on the  » competitive lag « ,  » the risk of losing billions and unprecedented personal advantages « , will be ready to accept this « innovation », no longer perceiving what is proposed to them — and it is even better if they ask for it — as what is imposed on them.

However, it is difficult to understand why, born of a desire for the common good, the strategic committee is composed solely of the business community: Michel Delbaere, who is the Chairman, is CEO of Crop’s (production and sale of vegetables, fruit and frozen meals) and former boss of Voka, but also, among other multiple functions, Chairman of Sioen Industries; Dominique Leroy, CEO of Proximus; Marc Raisière, CEO of Belfius; Michèle Sioen, CEO of Sioen Industries (world market leader in coated technical textiles and high-quality protective clothing), former president of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), Dutch-speaking manager of the year 2017, incidentally involved in Luxleak; Baron Jean Stéphenne, well established in academic and political circles, like his other acolytes, former vice-president and general manager of the pharmaceutical multinational GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, but also chairman of the board of directors of Nanocyl, spin off of the universities of Liege and Namur, specialized in carbon nanotubes (batteries, cars, electronics…); Pieter Timmermans, administrator of the FEB. All these individuals know each other, they meet the political decision-makers to whom they transmit the employers’ interests, and the latter transform them into political decisions. They will be there to convince you, like the banker Marc Raisière, who will warn us:  » If we don’t make these investments, future generations will be the ones to suffer the consequences. »(17) All this  » is truly realistic  » for Dominique Leroy, who is excited by the values of equality and justice. So « realistic », that the report of the committee of experts on 5G set up by the Brussels Minister of the Environment will conclude:  » A major obstacle to new installations is the opposition of a certain part of the public. It is therefore necessary to continue to inform and educate the public in an objective manner, and to dispassionate the debate as much as possible « . The members of the committee, who are supposed to make an impartial report aimed at protecting the population, will recommend  » de-fragmenting the debate « , to reduce  » the opposition of a certain part of the public  » and to remove  » the brake on new installations « . The solution is to educate and inform us. We count on them.

WHO BENEFITS FROM THE CRIME?

If the public interest of technological innovations is never really questioned among those who have the responsibility to implement them, it is because the answers to these questions would reveal that, beyond the questions of health, equality or environment, the initiative of these projects emanates from minorities who will share the benefits alone: captains of industry and bosses of public enterprises, whose economic choices are put in place by zealous political servants who will derive from them, and sometimes their relatives, one day or another, a legal or hidden, but always illegitimate and indecent, advantage.

So who benefits from the deployment of technologies like 5G? Beyond all the technical considerations that are sold to us as progress, the real objective remains the lure of profit. Without it, there is a high probability that no one would have heard of 5G, no scientific research would have been launched, no advertisements to « prepare » the subject. It is therefore obvious that those who hope to get richer will not advocate the precautionary principle, because they know that the environmental, social and health risks would be in contradiction with the best interests of finance. Those who will reap the benefits can count on the entire political class, including the Ecolo party:  » Recognizing that the cult of growth was an immovable obstacle to climate action, environmentalists quickly capitulated and now claim that you can have the best of both worlds, namely both a healthy atmosphere and solid economic growth, and that in fact promoting renewable energy to replace fossil fuels could accelerate economic growth(18) ». The alliances between liberals and ecologists in the last Belgian municipal elections support this observation. Indeed, there is no longer a green office without its energy transition manager or its digital advisor. And for those aware that the transition is a chimera but that it serves temporarily to ensure the growth of their capital, they will take care to protect themselves from the objects they promote for others, as the bosses of Silicon Valley put their children in Waldorf schools without screens or tablets. The 5G zealots will thus live in areas decontaminated from waves. Thinking about the foundations of all creation thus makes one lucid and avoids, at first, talking about the environment, health, common goods… It is enough to verify if the religion of growth was primordial from the start. If this can be demonstrated, the conclusion is self-evident: the desire for economic growth in a capitalist society where enrichment is based on a process of exploitation is never in harmony with respect for nature, social justice, the common good and the interests of all. The spirit of profit always benefits only a minority and cannot be reconciled with a concern for life. The following illustrates the true interests of 5G.

CREDIT FOR THE « SCIENCE

In Belgium, operators (Proximus, Orange, Telenet) and their shareholders « must » be able to rely on technological deployment; they therefore necessarily need the state to relax « overly strict standards » and subsequently ensure the implementation of the necessary infrastructure throughout the country. But this cannot be done, as has been shown, without feigning the parliamentary democratic process; preparing the population (selling them the product before it is there), but also bringing the credit of science by using scientific experts. The Brussels Minister of Housing, Quality of Life, Environment and Energy, Céline Frémault, will therefore set up a committee of « independent » experts in 2015.

But let’s take a look at the telecom operators, in particular Proximus, a « public » company listed on the stock exchange. Since January 2014, Dominique Leroy has been its managing director and chair of its executive committee. We know that the major parties share the directorships of the most important public companies: the National Lottery, the SNCB, Proximus, Vivaqua, not to mention the intermunicipal companies (Publifin is a perfect example). The former federal deputy and man of many hats Stefaan De Clerck is now at Proximus. Why should he find it excessive to receive €270,000 in parliamentary allowances when he leaves parliament for Belgacom(19)? Wasn’t it Proximus that recently posted  » Make way for unlimited  » everywhere?

Still on the Board of Directors are: Karel De Gucht, Pierre Demuelenaere, Guido J.M. Demuynck, Martin De Prycker, Laurent Levaux, Tanuja Randery, Agnès Touraine, Catherine Vandenborre, Luc Van den Hove, Paul Van de Perre, Martine Durez and Isabelle Santens

Those who will make the decisions that will have a lasting impact on society and nature are technophiles linked to multinationals, investment funds, universities, banks and public companies. Leroy and De Clerck will present their strategic vision to an audience of enthusiastic parliamentarians. These directors, chosen by the Council of Ministers, will decide on the orientations of Proximus with the main aim of not harming the shareholders. Thus, it is the Board of Directors that will decide on the dismissal of 2,000 employees, while Minister Charles Michel will pretend to be surprised, having placed his cronies in the telecom operator’s lair, following the example of the other « big » parties. Indeed, with the indispensable support of the media, it is necessary to simulate astonishment in order to give the impression that all this is not carefully thought out and strategically organized by a political-financial elite that aims at the same objectives. The show, always(20).

In short, did you see anyone on the Proximus board who could introduce even an ounce of doubt about the relevance of deploying 5G in Belgium? Isn’t there a clear conflict of interest, given that Proximus remains a public company? How to ensure the common good and care about the precautionary principle when these technocrats receive huge emoluments, up to 1.55 million €?(21)

THE EXPERT COMMITTEE: THE RETURN OF IMPARTIALITY?

Faced with this display of indecency, the use of scientific expertise was going to help in the decision. But this was without counting that we were again dealing with convinced before their time… It was on June 19, 2015 that the Brussels government, on the proposal of the cabinet of Minister Frémault, approved the composition of the committee of experts on non-ionizing radiation. Although the committee is made up of nine members from various fields (medical, scientific, economic and technological) (22), this diversity obscures the reality of a committee that is globally committed to the technological cause, with some working in a sector that promotes 5G, and others being directly linked to the operators that finance them. This temporary group, assigned the task of evaluating  » the impact on health of GSM antennas on a continuous basis « , was going to have to decide on the health protection standards for the inhabitants of Brussels as well.

THE COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE

1. THREE MEMBERS WITH SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE ON THE HEALTH AND/OR ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF NON-IONIZING RADIATION:

Isabelle Lagroye is French and a member of ICNIRP, which describes itself as an  » independent scientific commission to promote protection against non-ionizing radiation (NIR) for the benefit of the public and the environment(23) ». Nice declaration of intent, but it would not have been difficult for the Brussels Parliament and Government to discover his past conflicts of interest. Lagroye finances his research with money from France Telecom, Alcatel and Bouygues Telecom(24), and also carries out studies financed by EDF. It is also a member of the French Society for Radiation Protection (SFRP),  » whose benefactors include Areva, GDF-Suez, IRSN  » (25).

Luc Verschaeve who, under the tab « Independence and scientific integrity », notes without humor:  » In scientific research, it is important to fight fraud and avoid conflicts of interest. This is especially important when the research is funded by industry (sic). The best way to guarantee the quality of research and the integrity of researchers, even under performance pressure (sic), is to maintain an optimal research culture in which the observance of a strict ethical code is paramount . And what better way to counter this risk of biased scientific research than to comply with the  » code of ethics for scientific research in Belgium  » and to ensure that  » researchers who participate in the activities of the BBEMG commit themselves to observe complete scientific honesty « . The lobbies are trembling. Here we are reassured on the impartiality of BBEMG’s research,  » the collaboration with Elia cannot exert any influence (…), theagreement clearly states that the researchers benefit at all times from a complete scientific freedom and that they are totally responsible for the results of their research(26). « Elia, Belgium’s transmission system operator, certainly welcomes this code of ethics, as it certainly puts the health and well-being of the population before its financial interests. Finally, this is perhaps not the opinion of the residents of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert who were mobilized against the dangers of electromagnetic emissions set up by Elia. In particular, they reproached the municipality for having accepted the holding of an information meeting where Elia presented Mr. Verschaeve as an  » independent expert « , whereas they saw him as  » the umpteenth warning protester who appears in the media or at conferences in order to discredit the health warnings on radiation(27) ».

Jacques Van Der Straeten does not seem to be the subject of such conflicts of interest. This doctor, however, adopts the « intermediate » position, typical of the « false troublemaker » expert who, faced with the forward march of « inescapable » progress, advocates individual prudence, typical of our liberal societies: on the one hand, total laissez-faire to the multinationals that produce harmful objects, and on the other hand, individual choice of whether or not to protect oneself (insofar as one is able to do so) from this harmfulness. This is the model of the cigarette pack and the morbid photos that accompany it, of this paradoxical double message in which we are sold poison while being invited to protect ourselves from it, a model that expresses the relationship of a State that no longer has a grip on social functioning, only there to guarantee a context that is conducive to investment and to add a few touches of palliative regulation to ward off the most visible effects and prevent total chaos that would contravene the interests of capital. We let it happen, then we’ll see:  » Since the use of GSM is currently widespread, an alternative to case-control studies is the analysis of the evolution over time of the prevalence of brain tumors(28) ». This is called  » taking people for guinea pigs(29) ».

2. TWO MEMBERS WITH SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE IN NON-IONIZING RADIATION PROPERTIES:

Yves Rolain, chairman of the committee set up by Frémault, is a member of the IEEE, whose  » main objective is to promote excellence and technological innovation for the benefit of humanity « . The table of directors alone gives an idea of the motivations of those at the head of the organization(30). The IEEE has organized its 2nd 5G Forum in 2019, which aims to  » lead industry, academic and research experts to exchange their visions as well as their advances on 5G . » It is titled:  » Be a part of the Global Collaboration Creating 5G for the Benefit of Society(31) ». The mass is said, the information on 5G included on the site looks more like a marketing offer than the results of an « independent research ». Rolain will receive an IEEE award in 2004, 2010, 2011, and 2012, nothing to do with his integrity…

Véronique Beauvois, civil electrical engineer at the ULiège, is also part of the BBEMG whose funder is Elia. She works at the Montefiore Institute, which is linked to a set of spin-off companies and defines itself as  » a new company created from a research laboratory whose objective is to commercially develop a research result (a technology). To do this, the company spin-off is in principle linked to the university through a license agreement that establishes the conditions for the transfer of the technology from the laboratory to the company(32). It’s hard to be more clear.

These include:

  • The Association of Engineers of Montefiore (AIM), where the University of Liège (ULiège) rubs shoulders with sponsors such as Engie Electrabel, Lampiris, Euresis, Schneider Electric(33), Siemens, Sonaca, Tractebel ;
  • Ampacimon, which works on all continents to optimize the network, where we find as partners Elia, Alstom, Pôle Mecatech, Cigré, etc. ;
  • Taipro, designer of microsystems, with partners such as Technord, Guardis, Biion, Safran ;
  • Blacklight Analytics, which links IT skills to energy systems, working in particular in the area of artificial intelligence.

There is no need to describe the other four  » university spin-off industries « , once we understand that research serves industry, which in turn rewards university researchers. This pool of academic, industrial and political actors who are active in the field of high technology constitutes an indispensable guarantee for our governments. Health, as well as nature, are never of any importance in the face of economic imperatives.

3. TWO MEMBERS WITH SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE ON MICRO AND MACROECONOMIC AND SOCIAL NEEDS IN MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS:

We are here in the supra-social domain, the one where, after having received the experts’ reports, the political relays,  » for the well-being of the population « , can act.

Laura Rebreanu, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Brussels Business Union, does not hide her enthusiasm for technology as an indispensable tool for the energy transition:  » To limit global warming to less than 2°C, the transition to a « low-carbon » society, limiting CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, will have to be rapid and global. Smart meters are essential to achieve this(34). « If we had known, as early as 1972 with the Meadows Report, that the solution was there, in front of us, in the communicating meters!  » Resilient enterprise « ,  » stop waste « ,  » sustainable « ,  » urban mobility « ,  » co-creation « , the employer representative has adopted the novlanguage that ensures this « change in continuity « . Another particularity of this approach is that it is always about encouraging new technologies and good individual habits, while taking care not to challenge the largest companies.

Walter Hecq, professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, 75 years old, has been a member of all committees for decades.

4. TWO MEMBERS WITH SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE IN WIRELESS COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES:

Sophie Pollin did her PhD at the Institute of Microelectronics and Components. After Berkeley, she joined the « wireless group » at Imec in Leuven, where she has been an assistant professor since 2012. In her CV available on the Imec website, she writes:  » The Internet of Things promises more and more devices to connect. So we need solutions that fit perfectly with the density of nodes, that are intelligent, self-learning, heterogeneous. The complex field of wireless includes swarm networks, LTE cellular networks as well as future airborne mobile sensor networks. Many interesting challenges and opportunities combined! (35) ». Let’s remember that Pollin is supposed to  » evaluate the effects of electromagnetic waves « , especially in terms of health, while she is an employee of a company whose leitmotiv is:  » The power of technology should not be underestimated. Technology has the power to improve lives. That’s why we push the limits of technology(36) ».

David Erzeel works for the Belgian Institute of Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT), which regulates both of these matters, and issued a press release on March 24, 2017, that boasted  » extended Broadband Belgium’s rights of use in the 3.5 GHz frequency band by five years (…) to introduce 5G mobile technology in Europe « . No wonder then that  » BIPT should promote the introduction of 5G in Belgium. It is indeed about the interest of the consumer and the functioning of the internal market for electronic communications(37) ». The former president of BIPT, Luc Hindryckx, has become a lobbyist at ECTA (European Competitive Telecommunications Association), an organization associated with many operators. This is not an exception, as former BIPT leaders frequently borrowed the revolving doors between public and private (Belgacom, France Telecom, Orange, etc.).

What can we say to these altruistic beings who do everything possible to ensure our future, except  » thank you « ?

SCIENCE, THE SPEARHEAD OF CAPITALISM

Science and its university temples have dedicated part of their activities to technological development, essential for profits and participating in the plundering of the planet. Among all the examples, Proximus, ULB and VUB signed in Beijing in June 2015  » a technology agreement with Huawei « , which « will provide the 5G infrastructure for the ‘campus of the future’ in Brussels(38) ». If it does not even seem contradictory to associate an operator and a multinational company with supposedly independent universities, it is because the latter are no longer independent at all. In France, an example among others, the IMS, laboratory of the integration of the material to the system attached to the CNRS,  » is working to develop this « miracle » chip that should eventually fit on the head of a pin. A creation that is only made possible, however, thanks to a partnership between an IMS laboratory and microchip giant STMicroelectronics(39) ». It doesn’t matter that it takes  » about 72 liters of water to produce one of these small chips that power laptops, GPS, phones, iPads, TVs, cameras, microwaves and cars. In 2012, probably nearly 3 billion chips were produced. This represents nearly 200 billion liters of water. For semiconductor chips(40) ».

The wish of Céline Frémault is therefore pious when she delegates to her committee the task of evaluating electromagnetic waves  » with regard to the evolution of technologies and scientific knowledge, economic and public health imperatives « . It is a pure aporia to put « economic imperatives » and health issues in the same sentence: there is no health when competitiveness and growth are introduced. It was not the Frémault committee’s evaluation that would determine whether or not 5G would be deployed, but the decision already taken by the multinationals to do so, supported by the political elites, that would determine the position of a scientific panel endorsing what should be endorsed. In short, Frémault, like the others, is an executor. Technocracy thus dictates its choices to politicians, who cannot accept them without feigning the democratic process by means of a committee of experts in order to give the illusion of an impartial decision, experts who are already committed to the cause.

As early as 2010, the European Commission set its objectives in the « 2010 Digital Plan », which will lead to the definition of « the Digital Plan » in 2016. an action plan for 5G in Europe « , shamelessly titling its first paragraph « thehe rapid deployment of 5G: a strategic opportunity for Europe « . It also states that already  » in 2013(41), the Commission launched a public-private partnership (PPP-5G) with €700 million in public funding, with the aim of ensuring the availability of 5G technology in Europe by 2020. However, research efforts alone will not be enough to ensure Europe’s leadership in 5G. Broader action is needed to make 5G and its services a reality, including the emergence of a European ‘home market’ for 5G. » It was therefore already clear that no public debate could take place and that no opposition could be heard. While the press praises the « undeniable advantages of 5G « , without ever expressing the slightest doubt, the political negotiations are done in discretion. Is this surprising when we know that the media belong to large financial groups that have multiple interests, especially in new technologies? Other authorities, however, point out the danger. In its resolution 1815 dated 2011, the European Parliament states in point 6:  » Waiting for sound scientific and clinical evidence before intervening to prevent well-known risks can result in very high health and economic costs, as in the case of asbestos, leaded gasoline or tobacco . » Nothing will do, the thing being economically too important. In a situation of deep crisis and metamorphosis of the capitalist system, the only possibility to ensure its sustainability is to rush forward technologically. As a result, the « green » speeches and arguments in terms of social progress of decision-makers (politicians and employers alike) hide the windfall that technological transition represents.

FREMAULT COMMITTEE: CITING WORRISOME RESULTS TO BETTER SWEEP THEM AWAY

The report of the Fremault Committee illustrates this reality, where doubt only benefits the beneficiaries of the « economic imperative », offering an anthology of assertions/counter-assertions, where on the one hand they cite the « worrying » results of scientific research, to better evacuate them on the other:

-  » This decision was taken by the majority of experts concerned, based on several studies showing an increased risk of glioma in cell phone users. There is no certainty, however, and recent studies tend to show that the link between exposure and gliomas is decreasing rather than increasing.

- For the time being, however, it is too early to make a definitive statement, given that many cancers take years to appear and that cell phone use is still too recent at this stage (sic). There is even less evidence for brain tumors or other head and neck cancers… The only study (sic) that looked at cell phones and brain tumors in children and adolescents showed no effect.

- Studies of potentially genetic effects (which may be indirectly related to cancer) have not shown clear effects. Alarming effects have been reported, but only in studies whose quality may be questionable. There is also insufficient evidence for other potential effects that may be related to cancer to some extent.

- Immunological effects have been observed, but to date, the biological relevance of these observations is unclear.

- Because we hold our cell phones to our heads, there is concern that the radiation reaching the skull may have harmful effects on the brain (not just cancer). There are indications of effects on brain activity, sleep, learning or memory but the effects are limited and for the moment it is not certain that they have a real impact on health (…) but the results are not consistent and probably have no functional significance. This is also the case for children, where questionable results have been recorded. No disruption of the thermoregulatory mechanism has been demonstrated in adults or children. Nevertheless, further research is needed.

- Several critical evaluations of these studies come to the same conclusion, namely that a disruption of the blood-brain barrier by (among other things) cell phone frequencies is possible, but only when the intensity of the exposure is high and thermal effects occur. No disruption of the blood-brain barrier is observed with « normal » use (sic) ofmobile communication devices and therefore « normal » exposure. Laboratory experiments have not revealed any neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, contrary to what some people claim. On the contrary, some studies on the subject show a protective effect (sic).

- Studies have found effects on reproduction and development. However, no serious effects were observed at the exposure levels of interest. No significant effect could be observed in mice that were permanently exposed to radiation from wireless communication systems over four generations. It is unlikely that there would be any effects on the fetus of mothers exposed during pregnancy because of the extremely low levels of exposure. There is no serious indication of effects on sperm quality.

- Some non-specific symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness and others are sometimes attributed to exposure to radio frequencies. It is thus mentioned « electromagnetic hypersensitivity ». Previous studies (sic)The results of these studies, which have been supplemented by more recent studies, lead to the conclusion that there is no evidence that exposure to electromagnetic fields from cell phones, for example, has a causal link with these symptoms. On the contrary, there are indications of a « nocebo » effect « .

Concluding that, despite numerous studies, « the question ‘Is exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless communication systems harmful to health’ cannot be answered clearly with ‘yes’ or ‘no ‚’  » the decision to deploy 5G seems to be a foregone conclusion. They are also preparing for the future, anticipating the future demands of the telecommunications industry, which will obviously move towards ever greater  » Relaxation of standards « :  » It should be noted that the proposed exposure limit does not mean that real risks are to be expected above this limit. « As in the case of nuclear energy, there is no risk when economic interests take precedence, even if we talk about situations we do not know about(42). For the committee,  » there is no real scientific basis for such a strict standard. The goal has always been for the government to take into account not only the recommended values but also other considerations (e.g. economic) (sic), and therefore sets standards indicating the limit between acceptable and unacceptable levels of exposure (…) In view of current scientific knowledge, this relaxed standard does not seem unfair « .

The committee, which should rule on health risks, instead relies on a reality created by industrialists and advertisers, to warn of the inadequacy of infrastructure in the future:  » The growing use of smartphones and tablets is contributing to the increase in mobile data traffic (« data » in the broadest sense), and therefore increasing the pressure on existing infrastructure, which is increasingly at risk of being under-capacity . » Pointing out that  » the three drivers of growth  » are mobile data traffic, the introduction of tablets, laptops, smartphones and increasingly varied applications, the committee concludes that  » This evolution implies continuous upgrades of existing infrastructures and requires investments from the operators. 4G with « LTE capable » antennas are multi-band and operate in multi-frequency (…) is driving the global market and is worth $4 billion in 2015 (ABI Research, 2015). It prefigures the arrival of 5G in 2020 with LTE‑B antennas « .

Did you say « committee of experts », many of whom are from the scientific world? Basically, they do the opposite of what we expect from scientists: they start from generalized behaviors (the massive use of mobile technologies) to conclude that they are a sign of society’s well-being(43)This is a generalization of the fact that a massive use is from the outset the proof of harmlessness (asbestos offering, at another level, a good counter-example). The committee raises the usual argument that no precautions should be taken in the deployment of new technologies because  » This would greatly slow down the development of the « smart city », which aims to improve the quality of life of city populations while contributing to a more efficient use of resources . The rest is the same, where it is explained that  » Economic studies show that each € invested in broadband networks (fixed and mobile) generates €3 of GDP, and €1.5 of tax and social security revenues « , and that « it is not a matter of a single dollar. It is therefore necessary to simplify the legislation and to reduce as much as possible the administrative steps and requirements « . For those who do not understand:  » The digital transition desired by the Brussels Government cannot be achieved without a favorable legal, fiscal and administrative framework « . Here, in every respect corresponding to  » the regional policy statement (20 July 2014) « , which said it wanted to  » make Brussels a digital capital « ?

At the end of the report, the committee’s suggestions are astounding. About the IBGE website, the committee will say:  » In order to avoid a climate of distrust of all radiation, it is important to communicate clearly. The committee believes that the website can play an important role in this regard. The committee feels that the website deserves a higher profile « .

He adds,  » Wave propagation is an abstract matter. Electromagnetic waves have the disadvantage of not being observable by our senses, which makes the general public receptive to both information and misinformation. Information sources related to the Region are sometimes perceived as biased by the public and are therefore not valued. The committee believes that there is a need for scientifically correct but popularized communication, which are (sic) impartial and whose impartiality is also recognized by the general public. Suggestion: Provide an independent and honest channel of information for this technical subject « .

When you know where they are talking from, it’s pure cynicism.

AN UNWORKABLE MODEL

« Based on the data we currently have, the technology solution is anything but likely(44) »

This model is bound to run up against the limits of the planet one day, and remains unfeasible, even if those who want to implement it will push extractivism to the limit, reviving mining activity in countries that had massively abandoned it, such as France. The reality of the finiteness of natural resources in particular, such as that of rare metals essential to new technologies, makes it necessary to recall a few facts.

In the myth of the energy transition, everything starts with the mastery of rare metals, as before with coal and then oil:  » Like demiurges, we have multiplied its uses in two areas that are essential pillars of the energy transition: technologies that we have called « green » and digital technology(45) ». If the beginnings of the energy transition go back to the 1980s in Germany, it is in 2015 that the great coalition of 195 States was made, at the time of the COP21, leading to the Paris Agreement where the States expect to counter climate change and contain warming below two degrees(46) by substituting green energy for fossil fuels. In his book, the result of a six-year investigation, Guillaume Pitron imagines a wise man, an imaginary figure, who would go to the podium of the COP21 and say these words:  » This transition is going to put at risk entire sectors of your economy, the most strategic ones. It will precipitate into distress hordes of redundant workers who will soon provoke social unrest and repudiate your democratic gains (…) The energy and digital transition will devastate the environment in unprecedented proportions. In the end, your efforts and the toll on the Earth to build this new civilization are so great that it is not even certain that you will succeed « , concluding,  » your power has blinded you to such an extent that you no longer know the humility of the sailor at the sight of the ocean, nor that of the mountaineer at the foot of the mountain. But the elements will always have the last word!(47) ». Pitron underlines the most crucial questions, which none of the delegations present asked themselves:  » How are we going to get these rare metals without which this treaty is useless? Will there be winners and losers in the new rare metals game, as there were once with coal and oil? At what cost to our economies, people and the environment will we manage to secure the supply(48) ».

The author underlines the new dependence that we will create for ourselves, even more dramatic than the previous one:  » By wanting to emancipate ourselves from fossil fuels, by switching from an old order to a new world, we are in fact sinking into a new, even stronger dependence (…) We thought we were freeing ourselves from the shortages, tensions and crises created by our appetite for oil and coal; we are in the process of substituting them with a new world of shortages, tensions and new crises(49) ».

Moreover, there is the essential question of « clean here » based on « dirty there »: in graphite mines (a mining resource used in the manufacture of electric cars),  » Men and women, noses and mouths covered with simple masks, work in an atmosphere saturated with blackened particles and acid fumes. It’s hell(50) ».  » This overview of the environmental impacts of rare metal extraction forces us, all of a sudden, to take a much more skeptical look at the manufacturing process of green technologies. Even before they are put into service, a solar panel, a wind turbine, an electric car or a low-energy lamp bear the original sin of their deplorable energy and environmental balance. We need to measure the ecological cost of the entire life cycle of greentech — a cost that has been precisely calculated(51) ».

On the question of the impossibility of achieving this transition without massive consumption of energy and raw materials («  coal, oil, gas and nuclear power plants, wind farms, solar farms and smart grids — all infrastructure for which we will need rare metals  »), Pitron has made multiple attempts to contact Jeremy Rifkin, theorist of the 3rd industrial revolution and lauder of the energy transition, without success. And his explanation for this leak offers a general explanation for the massive blindness and delusion of greentech : the energy and digital transition has been thought out of the ground. Whatever its applications, each of them indeed  » proceeds first of all much more prosaically from a crater cut in the ground (…) Basically, we do not solve at all the challenge of the impact of the human activity on the ecosystems, we only move it(52) ».

TO ARTICULATE THE REFUSAL OF THE WORLD THAT IS BEING PREPARED FOR US AND THE FIGHT AGAINST INDECENT WEALTH

To place our hopes in politicians, to implore them to « make the right decisions », is to give them the power to impose their solutions by using the media tools they control and which they will use to make us believe that these solutions are the result of our demands and for our sole good. So is the digital transition, driven by multinationals and their servants. The 5G, symbol of this race ahead, promises us hell. It is the captains of industry, those who set up their letter-box companies in Luxembourg, the bankers and other agioteurs that the former Prime Minister Charles Michel had charged, in the name of the government, to think about a National Strategic Investment Pact, whose sponsors are none other than the bosses of Belfius, Proximus, Sioens Industries, the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium… who are the real architects of the  » prepare our country for the next decade . This will require them to  » make a series of urgent investments over the next few years. These investments will strengthen the economy, innovation and employment. We need this additional prosperity to continue to fund education, health care and social protection. Let’s all get to work to make this happen. Let’s build our future together. Because the future is ours! « . Certainly, it belongs to them alone, for the moment, who seek only one thing: to keep the power to revive growth in order to ensure their profits(53). But it is the future of living species and nature, not that of an insatiable minority, imitated and supported by 10% of the population, that we are concerned about. And to ensure this future, it will inevitably be necessary to move away from the imperative of economic growth and dare to make radical changes. We know what to reject and what to reverse. Our survival is at this price.

Alexandre Penasse

For further reflection, read also, « We are at war with 5G, » https://www.kairospresse.be/article/62899/, and all the articles on the site, by typing in the search bar « 5G »

Notes et références
  1. Stephen Emmott, 10 milliards, Fayard, 2014, p.142
  2. Ibidem, p.143.
  3. Clive Hamilton, Requiem pour l’espèce humaine, Paris, 2013, p. 20.
  4. Clive Hamilton, op. cit, p. 16.
  5. http://www.ieb.be/5G-l-exploitation-sans-travail-c-est-la-sante
  6. https://www.rtbf.be/info/medias/detail_la-belgique-sera-t-elle-prete-pour-la-5g?id=9990997.
  7. https://spectrum.ieee.org/video/telecom/wireless/everything-you-need-to-know-about-5g.
  8. Clive Hamilton, op. cit., p. 49.
  9. http://www.lachambre.be/FLWB/PDF/54/1214/54K1214001.pdf.
  10. Il faut préciser que ce n’est pas vraiment une déduction, la comparaison entre les pays n’est pas la cause de la volonté de faire « mieux », elle n’est qu’un prétexte à la course. Ce n’est donc pas parce qu’ils voient les autres que les États veulent faire mieux, mais parce qu’ils veulent faire mieux qu’ils regardent les autres.
  11. Dans le pacte national pour les investissements stratégiques, véritable feuille de route pour le déploiement tous azimuts des technologies numériques, pas une seule fois le mot « climat » n’est employé dans son sens propre. De même, « L’accord de Paris sur le changement climatique ne mentionne pas une seule fois les mots “métaux”, “minerais” et “matières primaires” », voir Guillaume Pitron, La guerre des métaux rares. La face cachée de la transition énergétique et numérique, Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2018, p. 23. Cela fait également partie de la novlangue, qui consiste aussi à utiliser les mots dans des sens figurés qui petit à petit prendront un sens propre. Nous reviendrons plus loin sur cette question.
  12. https://www.premier.be/sites/default/files/articles/Report_FULL-FR_WEB_FINAL.pdf
  13. « Lancement du pacte national pour l’investissement en Belgique », 11/09/2018, www.rtbf.be
  14. https://premier.fgov.be/sites/default/files/articles/Report_FULL-FR_WEB_FINAL.pdf
  15. « Rudy Demotte absent de la présentation du plan d’investissements : «On n’est pas là pour lustrer le travail du fédéral» », 11/09/18, La Première, www.rtbf.be.
  16. « Lancement du pacte national pour l’investissement en Belgique », 11/09/2018, www.rtbf.be.
  17. Idem.
  18. Clive Hamilton, op. cit, pp. 55–56.
  19. « Stefaan De Clerck : «Je ne vois pas pourquoi je devrais renoncer à mes indemnités parlementaires» », 28/09/13, www.lavenir.net
  20. « Dans l’entourage de Charles Michel, il se dit (sic) que ce dernier est particulièrement remonté contre le management de Proximus. Le premier ministre n’a été informé qu’en fin d’après-midi et s’estime mis devant le fait accompli », Le Soir, 09/01/2019.
  21. « Stéphane Richard mérite-t-il son salaire de 1,55 million d’euros ? », 2017, www.capital.fr.
  22. http://celinefremault.be/fr/ondes-electromagnetiques-designation-de-la-composition-du-comite-dexperts
  23. https://www.who.int/peh-emf/project/intorg/fr/
  24. https://reporterre.net/IMG/pdf/ondes-experts-declaration_d_interets.pdf
  25. « Lobby mode d’emploi ? », communiqué de presse de l’association française Robin des Toits – 09/01/2014, https://www.robindestoits.org.
  26. https://www.bbemg.ulg.ac.be/fr/index-bbemg/infos-complementaires/independance-et-integrite-scientifique.html
  27. http://tervueren-montgomery.eu/pdf/2015–12-08-Reunion-information-Forgez-votre-opinion-sur-la-ligne-150000V
  28. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242784812_GSM_Wifi_etc_danger_pour_notre_sante
  29. Voir l’article de Paul Lannoye in Kairos, novembre-décembre 2018, « Avec la 5G, tous cobayes ? ».
  30. https://www.ieee.org/content/dam/ieee-org/ieee/web/org/about/corporate/2018-bod-bios.pdf, consultée en décembre 2018, cette page n’est désormais plus accessible sans un identifiant et un mot de passe.
  31. http://ieee-wf-5g.org/
  32. http://www.sopartec.com/fr/qu_est-ce-qu_une-entreprise-spin-off-/122/2#.XDtwis1CdVg
  33. Vous vous souvenez, entreprise dont Tanuja Randery, administratrice de Proximus, est présidente pour le Royaume-Uni et l’Irlande… nous n’avons ni la place ni le temps de développer les croisements entre tous les protagonistes de l’affaire et leurs divers liens avec les entreprises, mais il est assuré que cette recherche donnerait un tableau digne d’un empire mafieux.
  34. « Compteurs intelligents : un outil dans la transition vers une société bas carbone », 18/05/2018, www.beci.be.
  35. https://www.esat.kuleuven.be/telemic/People-of-telemic/00041938
  36. https://www.imec-int.com/en/about-us
  37. https://www.ibpt.be/public/pressrelease/fr/135/persbericht_BroadBand%20Belgie_verlenging%20gebruiksrechten_240317_FR.pdf
  38. www.ulb.ac.be/babelbox/ws/getfile.php5?filter=databox6-art-attach-699…pdf
  39. « La puce qui va ringardiser nos smartphones est conçue à Talence », 22/10/2014, https://objectifaquitaine.latribune.fr.
  40. Stephen Emmott, Ibid., p. 75.
  41. Un plan d’action pour la 5G en Europe, cf. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2016:0588:-FIN:FR:PDF
  42. Voir https://www.kairospresse.be/article/appel-absurde-2-le-forumnucleaire
  43. « Aujourd’hui, plus personne ne nie l’apport de la technologie mobile pour le bien-être de la société et le succès de son développement en est le reflet ». , cf. le panel d’experts…
  44. Stephen Emmott, pp. 167 & 169.
  45. Guillaume Pitron, La face cachée de la transition énergétique et numérique, Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2018, p. 17.
  46. Pour 2 degrés, c’est déjà trop tard.
  47. Guillaume Pitron, Ibidem, p. 22.
  48. Ibidem, p. 23.
  49. Ibidem, p. 26.
  50. Témoignage anonyme d’une journaliste chinoise, Ibidem, p. 42.
  51. Ibidem, p. 55.
  52. Ibidem, p. 69.
  53. Notons, et ce n’est pas rien, que lors d’une session parlementaire, Ecolo-Groen, MR, CDH, Open-VLD, NVA, PS, se disent enchantés du Pacte, sans même que la composition du comité ne les choque le moins du monde. Audition à la Chambre des représentants de Belgique, du 22 décembre 2017. http://www.lachambre.be/FLWB/PDF/54/2867/54K2867001.pdf
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