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Unspooling the 5G Tinfoil Hats

Last week I received a tongue-in-cheek invite to a seven-thousand member strong Facebook group railing against 5G development in New Zealand. I decided to join. “Why do you want to stop 5G?” asked the admins in their pre-admission interview. “I don’t know,” I thought – because I don’t. All I know is that groups pushing mass conspiracy theories that include Agenda 21 UN world takeover themes and have a keen interest in the creative interpretation of international law are a real riot. I typed, “I don’t know, I want to learn more.” That seemed diplomatic enough. “Are you a member of a telco?” they asked as a follow-up. Very clever, because clearly, they know that like police officers, if you ask a telco employee if they indeed are a telco employee, they have to answer truthfully. “No,” I wrote because I’m not. And so began my journey into the very heart of darkness that is the Anti-5G New Zealand movement. 

What I quickly discovered was that 5G conspiracies are not a single thread. To accurately articulate every position held by these disparate groups would take a lifetime; indeed, many members have spent a lifetime researching what they believe to be a terrifying web of tyrannical abuses of power.

Conspiracy theories are the ultimate unassailable position one can take on a given topic. Any gap in official or agreed-upon information is the breeding ground of conspiracy, and any point of fact can be refuted as propaganda from the global media elite in concert with the powers that seek to make us a docile sheeple. Conspiracy theories are also, by their very nature as anti-evidence, contradictory. 5G sits as a perfect example of this. 5G spreads coronavirus, but there is no coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus is harmless, and the lockdown gives the government and telcos more time without us in the way to put up cell towers that transmit the deadly disease. The prime minister is a puppet of the UN, who are hell-bent on reducing population through the spread of fatal illnesses, and the UN and WHO numbers also prove that coronavirus is harmless. 

A major issue in all this is that nobody seems capable of thoroughly articulating a given point with any clarity. Every comment redirects to another Youtube amateur documentary or Facebook page run by an unknown doctor going against the grain. To get to the heart of it all, one does have to “do their research,” which is a core tenet of conspiracy movements everywhere. I decided to follow their advice and do my own research. 

Because there are so many threads of contradictory information to tease out, I’ll try to make sense of it all in some sort of digestible manner. The first thing to get clued up on is the New World Order, a conspiracy largely pushed by anti-government right-wingers and fundamentalist Christians before the internet brought it into more common knowledge. In the mid-1990s, examples of US government overreach and severity became the focal points for an angered section of the populace who saw things like Ruby Ridge or Waco as the New World Order playing their hand. Both events, armed standoffs between Americans and the ATF, were seen as the US government enacting the will of a global cabal of tyrants, the NWO, and suppressing the freedoms of Americans- which naturally meant impinging the privileges of the rest of the world. With the clear and present examples of the terrifying government power to oppress, the long-running conspiracy theories native initially to the right-wing spread to a broader audience. In the year 2020, some thirty-odd years after the militia movement, and with internet access offering every man and his dog the opportunity to “do their own research”, the New World Order has jumped into a relatively more mainstream audience. Conspiracy theories like these find their most ardent supporters in the US, with its culture of individualism and an inherent scepticism of government. From there, they permeate around the world as people consume US news, media, and ideas. 

That jump to a more mainstream preceded an interesting development, analogous to similar changes seen in the white nationalist groups in the US. That is, they move from being ardently anti-government to anti-establishment with support for US President Donald Trump’s oft-repeated intention to “drain the swamp”. This understanding of Trump as a non-political entity entering the political fray to represent the everyman has seen the NWO conspiracists’ original right-wing leanings bolstered as they interpret every political move or executive order from the president to be some sort of strike against the cabal of global elites. The inverse of this is that any political opposition to the president, whether direct in the US, or as a matter of a different ideological or policy course in New Zealand, is viewed as a move by or for the New World Order Trump allegedly opposes. 

A healthy amount of misogynistic hatred for the prime minister also permeates the community, with members referring to her as “evil”, “bitch”, a “whore”, as well as more conventional or garden-variety criticisms, such as her having signed the nation onto an UN-backed agenda to reduce population and surrender our civil liberties. The Prime Minister is also in league with Helen Clark, a supporter of the World Health Organisation, in their efforts to oppress us. Of course, a mistrust of anyone opposed ideologically or directly with President Trump and a belief that the New World Order controls that opposition means that any efforts on the part of our own government to combat the spread of COVID-19 are equated to a furthering of the cabal’s own evil designs. A four-week lockdown is the establishment of a police state, the restrictions against solo boating or huntings are the infringement of civil liberties to further the power of the ruling class. Financial aid in the form of wage subsidies is an effort to get New Zealanders hooked on the welfare state and steal their autonomy. 

All of this is increasingly complex, and it becomes puzzling to find an appropriate angle from which to tackle it. As I’ve mentioned already, coronavirus is not real or dangerous, and it’s an excuse to subdue the people in a police state. It is also a deadly illness made part of the UN’s agenda 21 plan to cut the global population to 500,000. This circles back on itself when we come to the meat and potatoes of the investigation. 5G. 5G either spreads coronavirus, causes coronavirus, or makes individuals more susceptible to coronavirus depending on whom you ask. The government’s enforced lockdown under the pretense of a coronavirus pandemic gives them all the time they need to erect more 5G towers to spread more coronavirus. This seems blatantly absurd, but to give the devil his due, there is a vaguely more coherent theory being posited by conspiracists here, in the US, and all over the world. It is all made clear in a youtube video published on 26 April 2020 titled “A WARNING TO THE WORLD. VIRAL Information”.

“What do the 1918 Spanish Flu and the 2020 Coronavirus have in common?” Asks the narrator, his voice rich with the croak only a 30-year pack-a-day habit can achieve. 

“Both have a next-generation wireless communications technology rollout, both have a worldwide plandemic and a lockdown of people and businesses, and both have a Jon Hopkins University and Gates family controlling the narrative across all media.” Bill Gates is a classic target of the 5G conspiracist (and the broader conspiracy community), as an ardent supporter of the World Health Organisation and an advocate for vaccination against deadly and preventable disease, Gates is seen as a critical player in the Global Ruling Cabal’s efforts to control the population. Allegedly, during the 1918 flu pandemic, as the early rollout of radio towers was taking place while people were under wartime conditions, and while those radio towers were causing radiation poisoning in the guise of Spanish Flu, Bill Gates’ grandfather was profiting. Gates will use the COVID-19 global pandemic to barcode or microchip everybody in the world through enforced vaccinations, thus making the sheeple even easier to track and control.

In the present, it is an oft-touted factoid that the first city in the world to be fully 5G serviced was Wuhan, China. This is a smoking gun, but it doesn’t explain much. There’s no 5G in Iran, for instance, where there are some 95,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 6,000 deaths. Minor facts like this do little to dissuade the New Zealand 5G conspiracy theorists from their positions, with posts going up daily showing the construction of new 5G towers across the country. One image posted multiple times states:

“5G is a military-grade microwave torture tech. 5G radiation measures 50,000 times the legal safety limit. 5G is a UN agenda that Jacinda signed us up to.”

Another poster claims that medicine tentatively used to alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19 is the same as that used to treat the symptoms of radiation poisoning. Coincidence? If it’s even true, then yes, often, the same medications can be used to treat multiple illnesses in one capacity or another. However, if the scales have lifted from your eyes and you see that 5G radiation causes COVID-19, then you see clearly the link. There is no such thing as a coincidence.

The beauty of all this thinking is that any piece of information can be plugged into your worldview if you accept that a global cabal seeks to rule us. Whether there is no COVID-19, or if there is but it’s man-made, or if it’s a trick to put up more 5G towers to control us, or if it’s the result of mass 5G radiation poisoning, it all fits into a belief that any one of these options is the work of the evil UN, Vatican, WHO, or lizard people in command of our destinies.

But why are people drawn to these ideas? The ideas themselves are patently absurd, they pique curiosity, but they are hardly a viable position. What drew me in is the people behind the concepts. What sort of person? Or, What kind of experiences create the type of people who absorbs and adheres to such beliefs?

In a radio interview with Brigham Young University, Health Sciences Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, member of David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the Acting Chief of Mental Health Community Care Systems at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Joe Pierre M.D characterised conspiracy theorists as individuals low in agreeableness, but high in openness to new ideas. It means they aren’t uncomfortable or afraid of going against the grain and that they are open to unique or novel concepts should they be exposed to them. This explanation, while devised through only one of many psychological frameworks through which to view people, offers a useful idea of the average conspiracy theorist. The point is that conspiracy believers are naturally suspicious of any authority figure, especially in scientific communities. From this position, any global organisation that claims authority or responsibility in a given field are met with the same scepticism. 

A striking comment Dr. Pierre made was also the description of conspiracy theorists as conspiracy theists:

“That is, people who believe in conspiracy theories aren’t usually so much theorizing and coming up with explanations on their own as they are hearing them from other people or finding them online.” 

I found this to be an accurate description as I descended the NZ conspiracy theory rabbit hole, every question asked being met with a “do your own research”, “come to your conclusions”, or “watch this, it makes sense.” Answers to questions come from parallel sources of information, just as authoritative as the standard official sources of information. In these cases, however, being target by journalists, being de-platformed for spreading false information, being disbarred by one or many medical boards, being fired for malpractice, or merely stating that you “did your own research and something seemed off” is enough to gain you credence when any official channel of information is viewed to be in lockstep with whatever evil powers are being called into question. 

Posted by a user railing against the general public’s confirmation bias. The irony was lost on them.

Dr. Rashid Buttar, retired US Army Surgeon, and current New Zealand resident, who never finished his medical residency, is only certified by organisations that barely qualify as legitimate, who has been disciplined for unprofessional conduct multiple times, who has had multiple patients die from his ineffectual cancer treatments, who has received a letter of warning from the FDA for marketing violations with regards to claims he can cure cancer, who is an avowed anti-vaxxer, who claims to be able to cure autism with topical treatments, who claims Dr. Anthony Fauci’s research on coronavirus created COVID-19, and who has perpetuated the belief that 5G towers and chemtrails cause COVID-19 springs to mind as an example of one such individual. The man’s Wikipedia page is seven short paragraphs, six of which are devoted to criticisms of his quackery, and yet after having a series of evangelical COVID-19 conspiracy videos of his removed from YouTube for violating community guidelines he shot to fame in the conspiracy world. The very fact that he is illegitimate and treated as such is what makes him legitimate.

In a 2017 paper for the Association for Psychological Science Karen M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, and Aleksandra Cichocka at the University of Kent discuss the myriad reasons why people believe the conspiracy theories they do. One of the explanations they land on is “finding meaning when events seem random”. A global pandemic, starting in a part of China, few of us, could find on a map, forcing people indoors for weeks on end and killing hundreds of thousands all over the world, certainly appears to fit the criteria of a random and frightening event with no meaning. It can be hard to accept the reality of seemingly random events that exist outside of our usual understanding. 9/11 serves as a perfect example. To the average person, an attack of such a kind was so far beyond the realm of possibility that immediately after the conspiracy of the attack abounded. An attack by a terrorist group on the other side of the world in the heart of New York City, killing over 3,000 Americans on American soil was harder for many to believe than any number of narrative frameworks that explain 9/11 as a part of a global or national conspiracy for any number of ill intentions. 5G cell towers are proliferating COVID-19, or indeed not existing at all, serves as a narrative framework through which people who are naturally afraid of such global upheaval and inherently suspicious of traditional sources of information can understand what they have no reference point for or impact on. It allows them to grasp onto something they can anchor themselves to then rally against. Rallying against malign machinations generally manifests as outraged commenting on the variety of videos and articles shared on the page:

“Guess what I’ve been told sounds crazy but, it adds up the moss shootings in Christchurch was hoks, just like covert 19, it made me feel scared what are they up to Vaccinating us ps the worst will be in the vaccination that people will line up for, how said is that what’s in the vaccination what I have read is so disturbing that you won’t believe me so check it out for yourself Bill Gates is insane I’m sure he won’t be shooting that shit into his children, making then sick and infertile.”

“Am I the only one who sees that the “Spiked Corona Virus” looks very much like the Jesuit sun symbol? All roads lead to Rome – The “Beast” or “Political” system that controls the New World Order – Lucifer’s leading agents.”

“They’ll use citizens to enforce it as they do now. Like the Nazis during the French occupation, most of their arrests came from French narking on each other. At the end of the war, those narks were hunted down & hanged on the spot. Hopefully, at the end of this, we can hunt down the narks & murder them in their little bubbles.”

In this way, I see the members of this group not as bad, or evil, or nutjobs or stupid- though I’m sure some members fit into any number of those categories- but as victims. They are victims of hucksters and tricksters, frauds, and con men who take advantage of their fear and misunderstanding to gain or grow their platform. It’s why there is such a preponderance of “do your research” battle cries smattered across the comment section. If you find yourself neck-deep in a two-hour iMovie “documentary” on YouTube employing an Oliver Stone-style web of connections listed a mile a minute and several hundred scientific-sounding words spouted by a man who claims to be a surgeon at New York General, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. I know, I did it several times. While watching a video on David Icke’s website, in which he discussed with his son the “realities” of coronavirus, I found myself wanting to agree with them as they claimed over and over that all of us good little sheeple staying indoors were turning a blind eye to the real danger. The NWO was tricking me, but I’m too smart to be fooled, aren’t I? But if I am being tricked and there is a plot to irradiate us with 5G, then what else could be true? What other tantalising forbidden knowledge is out there for me to learn? That’s the trick. And that trick translates into paying six installments of over 500 USD to Londonreal.tv for a “business course”, handily hosted by the same man who presents “Over 600 Long Format Interviews with the MOST IMPORTANT VOICES in the World.” and provides “Access to the TRUTH, Celebrating Different Views, Perspectives, and Insights.”

“Access to the truth” indeed.