FCC to consider changing cellphone radiation standards
By Brendan Sasso –
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering whether to change its cellphone radiation standards.
Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated an order on Friday that would launch a formal inquiry into the levels of radiation that the commission allows devices to emit.
Recent studies have indicated that radiation from cellphones could increase the risk of cancer, lower bone density or alter brain activity. But numerous other studies have found no harm.
An FCC official said the commission’s decision to explore the issue was not triggered by any particular event or study. He noted that after the commission’s probe, it could choose to maintain its current standards, make them more lax or make them more stringent.
The official said the inquiry is a routine procedure to review the commission’s standards. The FCC last updated its radiation guidelines in 1996.
If the five-member commission votes to move forward with the inquiry, it will begin accepting comments from the cellphone industry, consumer groups and the public.
The wireless industry has long argued that regular levels of cellphone radiation pose no danger to consumers.
John Walls, vice president of public affairs for wireless trade group CTIA, said he welcomes the commission’s continued oversight of the issue.
“We fully expect that the FCC’s review will confirm, as it has in the past, that the scientific evidence establishes no reason for concern about the safety of cellphones,” he said in a statement.
He noted that an advisory group to the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency recently found that cellphones are safe.
“Expert agencies and scientific advisory groups around the world have concluded that cellphones operating within government standards pose no known health effects and are safe for normal use,” he said.
CTIA sued San Francisco last year when the city tried to require warnings on cellphones about the risks of radiation. A federal court sided with CTIA, and blocked the warnings.
FCC leads the way on persecution of religious broadcasters
By BROOKS BOLIEK |
If a church broadcasts the word of God on TV without closed captions, it risks incurring the wrath of the FCC.
Some 300 small- to medium-sized churches can expect letters from the commission within the next few days explaining why their closed captioning exemptions were lifted for TV shows like “Power in the Word” and “Producing Kingdom Citizens.”
The FCC has been mailing the letters for the past few days to churches from Maine to California, explaining that the hundreds of exemptions are now rescinded and giving the programmers 90 days to reapply.
The churches were granted FCC exemptions from the closed captioning requirement under a 2006 commission decision known as the “Anglers Order” for the Anglers for Christ Ministries program that had argued for exemption from the rules.
While the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau used the Anglers Order as the model to grant at least 298 other exemptions, the full commission overturned that decision Oct. 20 after objections were raised from a coalition of organizations for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The churches may still be eligible to win an exemption from the rules if they can prove they can’t afford closed captioning, but they now have to make their case individually.
“This was a process that went awry,” said Craig Parshall, senior vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters, an international association of Christian communicators. “Now, we are going back to Square One.”
Advocacy groups for the deaf contend that the bureau erred when it granted the exemptions en masse because that created a virtual blanket exemption for nonprofit organizations. Under the closed captioning law, programmers can win an exemption if they can prove that the cost of the captioning will cause an undue economic hardship.
The groups wrote to the FCC asking commissioners to overrule the bureau order arguing that the order “improperly and unilaterally established a new class of exempt programming.”
While the commission’s decision has an immediate impact on churches across the country, it isn’t directed at religious organizations in particular, Parshall said. Small- and medium-sized churches just happened to apply for exemptions under the closed captioning law’s exception for TV shows where paying for captioning is an undue economic burden, Parshall explained.
Advocates for the deaf said they were pleased the commission was taking action on the issue, and hoped that it would make more programming accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired.
“Now, we look forward to viewing more TV shows that were not captioned before,” said Jim House, spokesman for Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc. “It is our hope that those producers affected by the decision would see the positive benefits of making their shows accessible to more and more viewers and find that it is the right thing to do.”
Religious broadcasters want to reach the deaf community, but requiring churches across the country to close caption their TV programs could force the programming off the air, Parshall said.
“We believe our message needs to get out to the deaf and disabled communities,” Parshall explained. “All we want is a sensible regulatory structure that recognizes the plight of the small Christian broadcaster.”
This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 3:25 p.m. on October 31, 2011.
FEMA Communication Takeover Test Scheduled for November 9
FEMA, the FCC, and Homeland Security plan to commandeer the airwaves next month. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) will be tested at 1 PM EST on November 9. EAS alerts are transmitted over radio and television broadcast stations, cable television and other media services.
Local and state EAS components are tested weekly and monthly, but this will be the first national test of the system. It is significant that FEMA will conduct the mandatory test.
FEMA was created by executive fiat. EO 12148 was signed into law by a stroke of Jimmy Carter’s pen on July 20, 1979. FEMA is described as a federal agency designed to coordinate government response to natural disasters that overwhelm the resources of local and state authorities.
In fact, the federal agency was established as part of a martial law mechanism.
FEMA plans on suspension of the US constitution exposed during Iran contra hearings. Oliver North is questioned by Jack Brooks.
Under Reagan, FEMA was headed by Louis O. Giuffrida, the former national guard general who contributed to the Garden Plot and Cable Splicer, two sub programs under REX 84, a plan to establish concentration camps in America. Operation Cable Splicer is described as “the program for an orderly takeover of the state and local governments by the federal government.” For more information on these martial law programs, see Mary Louise, Stalag 17, American Style Plans For Civilian Internment (& Worst).
Giuffrida, a counterinsurgency enthusiast, focused the agency’s resources on the “civil disturbance” aspect of its charter and worked to undermine Posse Comitatus. In 1982, Reagan formally militarized FEMA with National Security Decision Directive (NSDD 26). The result was a series of national training exercises led by the military. Under REX 82, civilian police from around the country received what FEMA euphemistically referred to as “military police methods” for quelling domestic political unrest.
Under Reagan, with Giuffrida at the helm, FEMA mutated “civil defense planning into a military/police version of civil society,” a plan on a collision course with Posse Comitatus.
“Hidden behind FEMA’s benevolent face as the body whose chief responsibility is disaster relief, another FEMA exists,” Ritt Goldstein wrote in 2002, referring to Bush’s effort to turn the agency into a counter-terrorism and “enemy combatant” detention outfit under the newly established Department of Homeland Security.
“At present, the final contents and disposition of the Reagan security initiatives, part of a national crisis plan, remains beyond public knowledge,” Goldstein writes. “But given the ‘War On Terror’s’ scope, even if a formal crisis is not declared, speculation exists that a de facto drift into an effective deployment of FEMA’s crisis powers could occur.”
Next month’s EAS test represents the public notification aspect of that national crisis plan. It is significant that EAS will be tested nationally. Natural disasters are usually regional affairs and do not require a nationwide response. The new national EAS system is designed for a more significant event that conforms to the implementation of martial law as envisioned under Garden Plot and Cable Splicer, a plan that was nearly revealed when Representative Jack Brooks of Texas grilled Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987 (see the video above).
Note: The Intel Hub is making an announcement within this release based on information we have received from our sources. This announcement is not to be taken lightly, but at the same time should not dictate a panic either. Unfortunately at this time we are undergoing an investigation and are only able to provide a vague alert regarding the following statement released by FEMA dated June 9, 2011;
FEMA, FCC Announce Nationwide Test Of The Emergency Alert System
Similar to local Emergency Alert System Tests, this Test is Scheduled to Take Place on November 9, 2011
Release Date: June 9, 2011
Release Number: HQ-11-099
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The nationwide test will occur on Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. eastern standard time and may last up to three and a half minutes.
The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies. NOAA’s National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.
Similar to local EAS tests that are already conducted frequently, the nationwide test will involve broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
On November 9, the public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for both radio and television. Under the FCC’s rules, radio and television broadcasters, cable operators, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers are required to receive and transmit presidential EAS messages to the public. A national test will help the federal partners and EAS participants determine the reliability of the system and its effectiveness in notifying the public of emergencies and potential dangers nationally and regionally.
“A national test of our Emergency Alert System, with the vital communications support and involvement of participants, is a step towards ensuring that the alert and warning community is prepared to deliver critical information that can help save lives and protect property,” said Damon Penn, FEMA’s Assistant Administrator of National Continuity Programs. “Because there has never been an activation of the Emergency Alert System on a national level, FEMA views this test as an excellent opportunity to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the current system. It is important to remember that this is not a pass or fail test, but a chance to establish a baseline for making incremental improvements to the Emergency Alert System with ongoing and future testing. It is also important to remember that the Emergency Alert System is one of many tools in our communications toolbox, and we will continue to work on additional channels that can be a lifeline of information for people during an emergency.”
“The upcoming national test is critical to ensuring that the EAS works as designed,” said Jamie Barnett, Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “As recent disasters here at home and in Japan have reminded us, a reliable and effective emergency alert and warning system is key to ensuring the public’s safety during times of emergency. We look forward to working with FEMA in preparation for this important test.”
Over the past two years and as part of ongoing national preparedness planning efforts, FEMA, the FCC and other federal partners, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, Emergency Alert System participants and other stakeholders have been working toward making this test a reality.
As the federal, state, tribal, territorial and local governments prepare for and test their capabilities, this event serves as a reminder that everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves, their families, communities, and businesses. Anyone can visit www.Ready.gov for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.