Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lloyd’s Won’t Discuss Their New EMF Exclusion Clause

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no questionsLast week, a couple of blogs noted that a recent commercial liability insurance renewal policy issued through a Lloyd’s of London underwriter contained a liability exclusion clause about electromagnetic fields.

The clause excludes any compensation for claims:

“directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electro-magnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”

It is important that “radio waves” are explicitly included as they, specifically the microwave zone, are what enable wireless communications devices like cell phones, wi-fi, cordless phones etc.

After the policy holder made an inquiry seeking clarification about the exclusion language, CFC Underwriting LTD in London, the UK agent for Lloyd’s, sent the following:

“The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.”

Sharon Noble, Director of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meter Harm in British Columbia (Canada) brought the clause and CFC’s response to public attention.

My interpretation of this revealing statement is that CFC Underwriting, and perhaps all of “the market” has realized that the time has come to hedge against a future surge in “illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.” Why else would they refuse coverage “across the market as standard.”?

“Unfortunately, Lloyd’s doesn’t have a spokesperson who can talk about this so we’re going to have to decline.”

Lloyd’s of London describes itself as “the world’s specialist insurance market,” and they’ve insured and paid on a variety of unusual risks and catastrophic claims. Unlike many other insurance brands, Lloyd’s is not a company; it’s “a market where our members join together as syndicates to insure risks.” What they insure falls into seven broad categories: casualty, property, marine, energy, motor, aviation and reinsurance.

Reinsurance is the key here, as, among other things, it serves “to protect an insurer against very large claims.” Think tobacco, asbestos and climate change. And microwave radiation apparently, even though regulatory and health agencies around the world refuse to accept RF exposure as causing illness.

Lloyd's of London new blanket EMF exclusion language.

I was seriously intrigued at all of this and emailed an inquiry to the Lloyd’s press center stating that I wanted some more details about the exclusion. I told them that as I primarily produce radio, I’d want to capture the conversation on tape, but would also be happy to talk with someone off tape, but on the record.

Two hours later, I received a response from a woman at Prosek Partners, “a communications consultancy that delivers an unexpected level of passion, creativity and marketing savvy,” which apparently handles such issues for Lloyd’s. She wanted to know more about what exactly I was seeking and asked if I would “mind expanding on your request a bit?” so she could best determine how to help me. I obliged, sending back “Basically I’m interested in the 5 Ws, but why especially. I’d also like to how widely the exclusion is being replicated in Lloyd’s policies. Is there any sense internally at Lloyd’s about this being a first step that is likely to be copied industry wide? Was there any conversation pre/post release of the exclusion language with any wireless industry businesses?”

This afternoon (she apologized for the 24 hour ‘delay’) she wrote back to tell me “Unfortunately, Lloyd’s doesn’t have a spokesperson who can talk about this so we’re going to have to decline.”

Now I’m used to rejection as a reporter, but I couldn’t quite believe this and told her so in my reply, mentioning that their refusal to talk about the policy change would possibly “draw attention away from more important aspects of the story.”

The takeaway here is that an underwriter for Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance market place, has “across the market” refused to provide coverage for any claims arising from exposure to cell phones, wi-fi or any other source of electromagnetic frequency radiation. Lloyd’s has then refused to answer a media inquiry about why, claiming that there is no one “who can.” Hmmm…

Natural, Safe (and Probably Free) Allergy Relief

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With each passing minute I type this, I can feel my allergy symptoms disappearing. Luckily, my pollen allergies are mild, short-lived and only occur fairly early in Spring, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. I don’t know what causes my allergies but relief is an easy, tasty fix found in my garden or around my neighborhood.

Allergy relief is very big business. Whether it’s for pollen or animals, most people take a pharmaceutical antihistamine and/or steroid and/ decongestant to relieve their allergy symptoms. These drugs block the production of histamine, a chemical we produce for immune response and many other reasons. However when you have an allergic reaction to something, pollen or animal dander for example, your immune system considers the substance an invader and really cranks up fennelhistamine production, causing cellular irritation which manifests as sneezing, itching, runny eyes and other allergy type reactions. Antihistamines prevent this by not allowing histamines to irritate the cells. Using pharmaceutical antihistamines usually means dealing with side effects that may be as inconvenient as what created the desire to take them in the first place: drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, slow reaction time.

There’s really no reason for you to deal with them any longer. There are many herbs that people have used safely through history as natural antihistamines. Among the most powerful is fennel (left), often viewed as a garden weed, it contains a significant amount of the anti-oxidant quercitin. Eating a small amount of fennel leaves and/or stem completely eliminates my symptoms in maybe 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, I eat a little more without concern for side effects.

A friend of mine who was staying with me a couple of years ago suggested (insisted really) that I try some fennel when we realized that I was having a reaction to one of her cats. I was miserable, sneezing at a record pace and producing tears in volume, reddening my nose and eyes. I was skeptical but there was no harm in trying some fennel sprigs. And I’m glad I did because those leaves totally eliminated all my suffering within half an hour. Thanks Heather!

If you can’t find any fennel to pick, or aren’t confident about confirming it’s identity, you can buy some, but get it organic. Spread the word, your allergic friends and family will thank you.

Dafna Tachover update on Israeli Wi-Fi Court Case

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Symbol for no wifi.As I promised a couple of weeks ago, here is the full interview I did with Israeli attorney Dafna Tachover following her appearance in February before the Israeli Supreme Court. She was there to argue that a conditional injunction issued by the Court in 2014 regarding her petition to remove wi-fi from schools in Israel be made permanent. This interview doesn’t go into earlier aspects of the case, but one we did last year, does.

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No Fields Found.

Operation Paperclip – Bringing Nazi War Criminals to the U.S.

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Operation Paperclip (née Overcast) was a military intelligence plan, launched by the Office of Strategic Services, late in World War 2 to capture Nazi scientists and bring them to the United States. As Allied troops made their way toward Germany, led by the U.S., they began to seek out Nazi scientists. They wanted the scientists to help them identify weapons and other equipment which the U.S. would bring home for research and development. While the search was underway, some key people concurrently had the same revelation about the project.

Germany had put all of its resources for over a decade into the war, enabling its scientists to achieve unparalleled advances in aeronautics, especially rocketry, and the development of chemical and biological weaponry. Many of these advancements involved not only slave labor at concentration camps, but using the prisoners for human experimentation, practices which directly led to the creation of the Nüremberg Principles, which legally define war crimes. Now the U.S. military wanted all that expertise for its own purposes and was willing to do almost anything to get it.

Germany surrendered early in 1945, but the U.S. was already planning for its next war, possibly a “total war” with the Soviet Union. This fear, along with defeating Japan in the Pacific, were the key factors driving the pursuit of the German scientists. It was thought that German weapons could help end the Pacific war, but this ended up being irrelevant as the atomic bombs forced Japan’s hand in early August, 1945. The Soviet Union remained the sole reason for Operation Paperclip thereafter.

No one has written a more authoritative and exhaustive history of these events than Annie Jacobsen. Her book, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America, incorporates information from U.S. and German archives and scores of books, government reports, articles and first-hand interviews and correspondence, to present a highly detailed look at how fears of the next war overshadowed atrocities committed in the one that just ended. Nazi scientists connected to human medical experiments and slavery at concentration camps, as well as horrific chemical and biological weapons research were welcomed warmly by the United States, where they inspired additional infamous ‘research.’

In our conversation, we discuss in great detail the origins of the program, some of the key people involved on both sides, some of the results from bringing the Nazis to the U.S. and what is still to be discovered about this shameful part of U.S. (and German) history.

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News Story – The Economics of Happiness

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econhappyI spent this past weekend at The Economics of Happiness conference, recording talks, meeting some amazing people, and conducting and setting up future interviews. While it’s a huge challenge to condense many hours of content into a few minutes, I feel like this news story I produced for KBOO, provides a reasonable summation of the event. I have almost 10 hours of audio to produce and will begin loading it here soon, so check back regularly.

Here’s the intro read by the news anchor prior to playing my piece:

Portland hosted the fourth ‘Economics of Happiness’ conference this past weekend. Inspired by a film of the same name, both of which were produced by the International Society for Ecology and Culture, the conference shared many key aspects of global economic re-localization efforts. Andrew Geller was there and filed this report.