Police are investigating after two fires in Ōtāhuhu and Favona in the early hours of this morning.
Towers were also damaged in Māngere earlier this week and another in Papatoetoe late last month.
It’s no longer the case of a one-off attack. Clearly something serious is going on.
Critical infrastructure sabotage
If New Zealand was at war, we would regard an attack on critical infrastructure as treason. If a hostile foreign power sabotaged critical infrastructure, it might not be an act of war. It would be a serious diplomatic incident.
In a sense, this is what is now going on with the so called anti–5G protesters. People around the world are being wound up, fed a careful diet of lies and misinformation in order to trigger this kind of behaviour.
There’s no question some of this propaganda is, at some point, serving or even directly controlled by state controlled organisations. It is quite deliberate. You can speculate which states might be behind the messages.
New Zealand may not be in their direct sights. It’s unlikely anyone sitting in a foreign capital is high-fiving a colleague because cranks took out a cell tower in Ōtāhuhu. We are probably collateral damage in a slow-motion underground cold war.
That doesn’t absolve the people who start and feed these rumours and misinformation campaigns. It does go part way to explaining it.
There’s little likelihood a 5G information campaign organised by New Zealand’s government or telcos can counter this propaganda. For a start, the people who believe these conspiracy theories would be unwilling to take, say, Vodafone’s word on anything to do with 5G.
Mainstream media could spread an information campaign. The problem there is that conspiracy theorists are allergic to mainstream media.
That’s if they see it at all. They are far more likely to believe the rants of red faced presenters promoting dubious health products on You Tube, other social media on underground channels.
It doesn’t help that high profile commentators work so hard to undermine reasonable government actions and messages in other areas.
This goes some way to encouraging a climate where critical infrastructure sabotage might feel more like fighting for freedom than destroying essential infrastructure that helps everyone.
No easy answers
As a first step, it’s probably a good idea to install low cost cameras at cell sites to monitor suspicious activity.
This is hardly another step on the road to tyranny… using security to protect private property is reasonable and well established.
Where things get more dangerous and contentious is dealing directly with misinformation. Incitement to commit a crime is a criminal offence.
Sure, there is often a thin line between incitement and legitimate free speech. But anyone who is, say, sharing information on how to attack a cell tower or broadcast an attack is clearly committing a crime.
Beyond that I don’t have anything to contribute. There are no easy answers. It’s not as if we don’t have other, bigger problems to deal with, but 5G mobile towers shouldn’t be in the front line of civil disobedience.