Conspiratorial Attacks On Telecom Infrastructure Keep Getting Dumber And More Dangerous
from the head-full-of-pudding dept
On one side, you’ve got wireless carriers implying that 5G is some type of cancer curing miracle (it’s not). On the other hand, we have oodles of conspiracy theorists, celebrities, malicious governments, and various grifters trying to claim 5G is some kind of rampant health menace (it’s not). In reality, 5G’s not actually interesting enough to warrant either position, but that’s clearly not stopping anybody in the post-truth era.
But it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.
Over the last year or two, conspiracy theory-driven attacks in both the UK and US have ramped up not just on telecom infrastructure, but on telecom workers themselves. From burning down cellular towers to putting razor blades and needles under utility pole posters to injure workers, it’s getting exceptionally dumb and dangerous. To the point where gangs of people have threatened telecom workers who don’t even work in wireless.
As the Intercept notes, the rise in attacks has finally gotten the attention of law enforcement. In New York, law enforcement has finally keyed into the fact that the conspiracy theories have fused white supremacists and Q Anon dipshittery into one problematic mess that’s resulting in concrete harm. White supremacists (here and abroad) have apparently figured out they can amplify and contribute to the conspiracy theories to generate more chaos for the American institutions they’re eager to demolish. All stuff that’s being amplified in turn by governments like Iran and Russia eager for the same outcome.
While superficially a lot of these folks have the coherence of mud, in many cases the attacks are very elaborate, and specifically targeted:
“In one case, it says, on December 14, 2020, an individual or individuals broke into a cellphone tower ground station in Fairview, West Virginia, severing the tower?s main power cable and removing the primary and back-up generator batteries. The tower had provided wireless coverage throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and the damages totaled over $28,000.
In another instance, an unknown individual is said to have sneaked into a cell tower site in Tennessee on December 19, 2020, by cutting open its perimeter fence. The individual then severed the site?s fiber-optic cables and damaged several other telecommunications components, resulting in a ?significant disruption of service for approximately 12 hours.”
Many of these attacks are orchestrated by folks who know exactly what they’re targeting. Often it’s the loopy pudding-brained aspect of these stories that gets the most attention. Less talked about historically is how this bullshit enables white supremacist accelerationist fantasies, something law enforcement chatter is starting to more accurately discuss after decades (centuries?) of apathy:
“In recent months, white supremacist extremists, neo-Nazis, far-right Telegram groups, and online conspiracy theorists have all emphasized attacking valuable critical infrastructure targets.? Many far-right groups adhere to the ?accelerationist? principle, which maintains that hastening the collapse of society will bring about political change. Targeting critical infrastructure, which impedes the state?s ability to function, is a common insurgency tactic used by militant groups worldwide.”
Conspiracy theories work so well in America thanks to decades of greed slowly nibbling away at cornerstones of a functioning democracy, whether that’s a lack of cohesive, affordable mental health care, a government gridlocked by corruption, or a press that still can’t pay journalists a living wage while Instagram influencers nab million dollar contracts. Less informed, intentionally agitated, and increasingly faithless in the ability of institutions to protect them, the public clings to anything they can to feel in control, and that increasingly winds up being… complete and total bullshit. A systemic failure that’s then exploited and amplified by no limit of bad actors, both foreign and domestic.