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.

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Comments on “Conspiratorial Attacks On Telecom Infrastructure Keep Getting Dumber And More Dangerous”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Charming

Rather than face the fact that racism and other forms of bigotry aren’t as socially acceptable any more they instead try to burn the system down in the hopes that whatever replaces it will be more friendly to losers like them, and ironically in an attempt to give themselves some feeling of control they instead are dancing to foreign tunes and giving the local government perfect justification to crack down on them even more.

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Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Charming

Rather than face the fact that racism and other forms of bigotry aren’t as socially acceptable any more …

Perhaps you mean to say that “rather than imagining that racism and other forms of bigotry aren’t as socially acceptabe any more”. Because from the most recent presidential election, we had over 70 million folks coming out and saying that these things are sufficiently acceptable to not be disqualifying for a candidate.

Not saying that all the seventy-million-plus voters like racism and bigotry. Just that they did not find it sufficiently problematic to prevent them from casting their votes. I also observe that a great portion of the U.S. Congress do not appear to find it unacceptable, even when it leads to armed insurrectionists levying war against the Federal government.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Charming

"Because from the most recent presidential election, we had over 70 million folks coming out and saying that these things are sufficiently acceptable to not be disqualifying for a candidate."

An unfortunate truth there. I often reference "73 million americans" whenever hopeful optimists think that nation can become sane again just by people linking arms and singing Kumbaya. It’s too damn late. The US liberals have ignored Popper’s Paradox of tolerance until it’s more than halfway become factual reality.

With one out of three american voters showing that for them open white supremacy and bigotry is a showstopper for public office, the remaining majority now have a choice. Either give those 73 million assholes a continued say in affairs, or make it clear that intolerant assholes aren’t welcome in civilization.

" I also observe that a great portion of the U.S. Congress do not appear to find it unacceptable…"

The regrettable outcome of vox populi when the saner majority keeps respectful silence while the malignant and deranged keep screaming at the top of their lungs.

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'H2O' H. O. O'Hooley says:

You has a tiny little propaganda bubble. Expand your mind.

FBI arrests left-wing Anarchist leader John Sullivan for inciting riot in Capitol siege…

https://www.justice.gov/opa/page/file/1354781/download

Dominion Systems security chief posted Antifa Manifesto online…

https://thespectator.info/2020/11/15/anti-trump-dominion-voting-systems-security-chief-was-participating-in-antifa-calls-posted-antifa-manifesto-letter-to-trump-online/

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'H2O' H. O. O'Hooley says:

Re: You has a tiny little propaganda bubble. Expand your mind.

Amnesia of the Anarcho-Tyrannists

Is it just me or has the entire universe of establishment media, politics and Hollywood forgotten that this country has endured an entire year of relentless violent anarchotyranny? Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters set businesses and churches ablaze, smashed state capitols and laid siege to federal courthouses. They permanently destroyed precious statues and symbols of America’s heritage. They assaulted elderly people, stalked and menaced bystanders, taunted and terrorized law enforcement. And they committed murder – dozens of times – in the name of social justice while the powers that be sat idly by.

https://www.unz.com/mmalkin/amnesia-of-the-anarcho-tyrannists/

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'H2O' H. O. O'Hooley says:

Re: You has a tiny little propaganda bubble. Expand your mind.

Trump said: "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." — Which is more than any Democrat or elite talking media head has ever said to terrorist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter. (slightly modified from John Nolte’s text on Breitbart)

Link to Trump’s words:

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-01-13/transcript-of-trumps-speech-at-rally-before-us-capitol-riot

IGNORED BY MEDIA AND FBI: Antifa-BLM Activists Are Posting Photos and Bragging Online About Storming US Capitol on Jan. 6

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/02/ignored-media-fbi-antifa-blm-activists-posting-photos-bragging-online-storming-us-capitol-jan-6/

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'H2O' H. O. O'Hooley says:

Re: You has a tiny little propaganda bubble. Expand your mind.

Final two are BIG — vastly more read than this minion — by Matt Taibbi and Green Glennwald

Aaugh! A Brief List Of Official Russia Claims That Proved To Be Bogus

https://taibbi.substack.com/people/263053-matt-taibbi

How Do Big Media Outlets So Often "Independently Confirm" Each Other’s Falsehoods?

https://greenwald.substack.com/p/how-do-big-media-outlets-so-often

That the entire Russiagate storyline itself was a fraud and a farce is conclusively demonstrated by one decisive fact that can never be memory-holed: namely, the impetus for the scandal and subsequent investigation was the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign had secretly and criminally conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election, primarily hacking into the email inboxes of the DNC and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. And a grand total of zero Americans were accused (let alone convicted) of participating in that animating conspiracy.

That audience does not care if these media outlets publish false stories as long as it is done for the Greater Good of harming their political enemies, and this ethos has contaminated newsrooms as well.

"contaminated" is of course idealistic notion that they were EVER "pure" — they weren’t. Masnick too ran the "Russia collusion" story and never retracted.

YOU are "that audience", kids. You gleefully repeat LIES knowing they’re LIES.

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Rocky says:

Re: Troll has a tiny little brain

FBI arrests left-wing Anarchist leader John Sullivan for inciting riot in Capitol siege…

"Left-wing anarchist leader"? The dude is an idiot with no clear political goal except being anti-government. And he wasn’t arrested for inciting a riot (18 USC § 2102), he was arrested for civil disorder (18 USC § 231(a)(3), 2), entering a restricted building (18 USC § 1752(a)) and violent entry or disorderly conduct (40 USC. § 5104(e)(2)). You would have known all this if you actually read up on a subject, but as usual you latch on to the first thing that resonate with your myopic worldview.

Dominion Systems security chief posted Antifa Manifesto online…

That is what right-wing activist Joe Oltmann alleged without providing one shred of proof. It’s not like Oltmann have publicly tried to link other people he don’t like to antifa.. oh, wait…he has…

As usual "brainy", you have yet again proven to be a gullible fool drinking from the fountain of conspiracy theories and propaganda.

Anonymous Coward says:

Greed misplaced as blame?

Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of things that greed can screw up and care should be taken to mitigate it. Blaming greed for market crashes, underinvestment, spam, pollution certainly. But I don’t see how journalists struggling and overpaid influncers however really don’t fit either of the bills of problems affecting democracy or being caused by greed and certainly not both!

It is the dismal science of economics which describes why any "valueless" rando getting a large following can be lucrative from all of the eyeballs and interest upon them. That is in itself pro-democratic as people decide themselves what to go with. One may look down upon their choices and they may be uneducated but if their audience were PHDs in their downtime finding them "refreshingly authenic"/"distillment of desires"? And what does greed have to do with it for that matter? What do the audience, influcers, or sponsors wanf in excess to be greed? Outside of the implicit elitist "but I know better than what the peasants want!" assumption the connection between the two and journalist funding is a nonsequitor . You might as well bemoan sweatpants spending vs journalist outlays.

Sure it is a symptom of a fundamentally dysfunctional information ecosystem that professional journalists are not sustaining their specialization through providing value. An informed populace is important to democracy sure. The bemoaning of Influncers making more implies greed on their part or their audiences which are again elitist nonsequitors.

Relatedly look at other past periods of time when conpiracy theories flourished – the French Revolution for one gave us the original Illumanti and host of anti-Semetic crap blaming them for the downfall of the Monarchy, post Great War stab in the back myth, the John Birchers who were paranoid and salty about people not agreeing with them, Groom Lake/UFO related, CIA related ones when they really were doing all kinds of shady shit with no oversight, the Kennedy Assassination, and 9-11. A few common variables:

  1. Experienced instability/upheaval or otherwise not being how they think things should be.
  2. "It’s not my fault!" – man in power who we refuse to blame
  3. Opaqueness leading to wild ass guessing to fill in blanks.
  4. They seem pretty suspicious don’t they?

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And? Techdirt is very up front with it’s bias. Cause’ here’s the thing… The news Techdirt provides is always in conjunction with an import element in their formatting: commentary.

Commentary without bias is dry at best and leaves holes for people to fill with their own bias at worst.

Your own comment just seems to be the equal vent of dumping a box of gravel on an already filled plant pot.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Glenn ‘Had a gigantic hissyfit and quit his own website because his editorial staff wouldn’t let him publish right wing conspiracy theories and has spent every waking minute since promoting conspiracy theories and attacking the left and anyone who dares call him out for his BS’ Greenwald. Truly a man at the height of his powers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You know, antidirt, I remember when you initially posted about Greenwald. Mostly to hate his guts because of his involvement with Snowden, which really triggered your authoritarian sensitivities. Like… You really could not stand the guy. At all.

And now look at you, simping for a married man like a Man Going His Own Way bidding for gamer girl bathwater.

I know the idea of self respect is a wasted concept on copyright whores like you, but yeesh.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

From Canada, this seems pretty weird. A bunch of the microcells have been popping up here, sometimes on every fourth or fifth telephone pole in a neighbourhood, and they have unprotected power switches just sitting like 2.5 m off the ground. Any idiot with a stepladder or hooked pole could turn off 50 of these things in an hour. I’ve never heard of it happening, so I guess no one really cares.

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