This story takes place on the Greek Island of Corfu on the historic street called the Liston.
You might find this street familiar as it was built in 1807 by the French. The design was inspired by the Rue de Rivoli, Paris.
You might also notice that up there on the fifth floor is a balcony that has what looks like two lights next to it:
That is my balcony- part of the apartment I’ve been renting since the beginning of 2015. The “light” on the left has my desk just behind it and my bedroom to left of it (the shuttered window can be partially seen in this photo). The “light” on the right has my living and dining room behind it.
They seemingly match the architecture of the building, but despite UNESCO rules that no additions be made to the buildings in Corfu’s historic center without permission, these “lights” were secretly added circa June of 2016.
While I was out of town, in England, my Corfu landlord, Alexandros Gerekou (or Gerekos), signed a deal to get those secret “lights” installed without my knowledge or permission. If they were just lights, it wouldn’t matter. But, what they are might shock you as much as it shocked me.
When I returned to Greek in early September, I knew something was fishy as Alex isn’t the type to be buying decorative pieces for outside. He had over-promised and under-delivered on our rental agreement’s move-in promises (such as getting new sofas) and I had to be very persistent for him to honor his word on installing a/c and screens on the windows. Buying decorations was clearly not his way. My first thought was that maybe UNESCO had required him to add it, but that just didn’t make sense.
Then, my housekeeper and a guy who helps me with some computer stuff, both shared that they were not sleeping well. Strange that I have two regular guests in my home- both of whom are smokers and spend significant time on the balcony- and they both had insomnia. It got me questioning.
I asked him and he told me there are wifi transmitters inside. I am aware that wifi is radiation, but I also knew that it shouldn’t be extreme as long as we weren’t physically close to them. But, insomnia left me doubting.
I express my concerns to him via email:
“No radiation !!!!!” he shared in response to my inquiry. He spoke of experts and truths- it sounded convincing. But, it wasn’t.
I needed to investigate. So, I went upstairs to the attic portion of my apartment (which has been converted into a separate living space with a mini kitchen). This is what I found:
It is what is called a microcell transmitter, a cellular signal that transmits up to 2km. It isn’t as strong as the ones on top of hills, which have 28km reaches, but it is much stronger than the two local versions (femtocell and picocell).
Basically, it is a very powerful radiation creating machine. And, it was installed in my attic, without my knowledge or consent.
Radiation is dangerous. Read studies about this type of non-ionizing radiation here.
A microcell, by US laws, needs to have warning signs around and be secured from anyone getting close to it. When I was shooting these photos, I approached it- and got very close- without any warning of its dangers. And, my kitchen is one wood floor away from the above equipment. Scary.
If the world made sense and was just, and if people and companies were moral and kind, my apartment would have been tested for radiation before and after starting up the microcell. And, if the levels were too high, I should have been either paid to leave (get a refund on any amount already paid towards my rent plus be subsidized for moving expenses) or they should have been required to put up anti-radiation materials (there is anti-radiation paint that could have been used on my walls and there are films for the windows) to keep the radiation outside of my living space. But, that isn’t how things unfold in 2016.
You see, in 2016 radiation is like how tobacco used to be. Remember the days that tobacco companies not only denied that their product was carcinogenic but actually claimed it was healthy?
That is how radiation is today. For every 100 reports of children getting chronic diseases from radio/cellular transmitters nearby homes and schools, they pull out one report that says that it is inconclusive and then they toss out all regards for our safety.
Radiation is good for business. The more they produce, the more they can show-off in their advertising how wide and strong their 3G/4G networks are.
Cellular companies are experiencing something equivalent to an arms race- and we are the ones facing the fallout.
Enter the RF meter:
This handy little thing was made in America. I ordered it and waited 12 long days for its arrival. (Shouldn’t my landlord and the cellular company Cosmote/OTE have done this testing, rather than me needing to know better and then buy my own equipment?)
I went deeper into researching the effects of radiation and laws…
It appears that the installation of a microcell in a residential building is most likely legal in Greece- except that the cosmetic changes are not to UNESCO’s code. If I am reading legislation correctly- my landlord could have installed it inside of my mattress and it would comply with Greek law.
In other words, there is no protection to anyone.
Signing contracts to install microcells is something largely done by absentee landlords that are happy to risk other people’s health in return for €1500–2000 per month.
Legal, but not safe nor ethical.
Microcells give off a hazardous amount of radiation on a horizontal plane. Therefore, manufactures recommend that they should be raised above where anyone lives. In the case of my building on the Liston, that would mean having them sticking out on the top of the building, above the sixth floor.
But UNESCO wouldn’t allow a transmitter protruding from the top of the building. So, they get sneaky.
The first sneaky thing they do is that OTE doesn’t do the work themselves. They hire contractors to do the work. Without knowing the specifics, it sounds like a shrewd way for the corporation to distance themselves from liability.
They use hiding devices like the fake lamps outside of my balcony to try to trick UNESCO enforcement to believe that nothing new has been added.
And, this turns into a total disregard for human life.
The front side of our building has gorgeous views- that is why we pay a premium to rent the place.
These pictures don’t even do justice to the view. I don’t have a lens wide enough to take in the beautiful vista. Stepping out on the balcony feels simply amazing- with the old fort, the big sky, the sea views, and the mountains across the water on the mainland. Sunrise is stunning, as are moon rises.
While I was waiting for the meter, my landlord asked me for money to pay the water bill. I told him that he could take it from my utilities deposit as we would be leaving if dangerous levels of radiation were found as I suspected. He replied.
“I want the apartment free 01.01.2017”
Hmmm… kicked out before the meter even arrived. I guess he knew what was coming.
When my meter arrived yesterday, I confirmed that not only are they using those fake lights as cellular transmitters, but that it is filling all of my apartment’s front rooms with radiation. This includes the 3 main rooms where my wife and I work by day, where we eat and relax, and where we sleep. The only room we use on the backside is the kitchen.
On the backside of my house, the two unused rooms had an average of around .05 mw/m2. That is fine. Not high, not low. Ideally one sleeps at .01 mw/m2 or less of radiation, but .05 is fine. The meter showed in the green zone.
My central hallway had around .5 mw/m2- ten times as much. Getting high, but still acceptable. The meter showed in the lower yellow zone- danger was approaching.
My kitchen, directly below the microcell equipment pictured above, had between 1–2 mw/m2. This is in the middle of the yellow danger zone.
My bedroom, home office, and living/dining room fluctuated depending upon where you stand, from 2-325 mw/m2 units of radiation. My meter showed in the red zone for extreme danger near the outer walls. Inside, at my desk and on my bed, it fluctuated between high yellow danger and high red extreme danger.
It is easy to understand the increase from .01 unit to 110+ mw/m2 units of radiation inside my home is quite the extreme leap.
Outside was even worse. Despite the fear of getting close to the transmitter “lights”- I reached my hand out and measured up to 400 mw/m2 pouring out of the device. And, I didn’t even get in the center of the beam.
The first thing I did was approach my bedroom and see if I could minimize the radiation. I had read that it is hard for radiation to penetrate metal, so I attempted to put four layers of aluminum foil on the wall and window where the radiation was the strongest.
With the aluminum shutters closed and with four layers of foil on the window, I was able to decrease the radiation significantly.
Close-up values dropped from 100 to 5 mw/m2. It was a huge success, but still the bedroom levels were much higher than recommended limits.
My medical doctor brother equated this situation to living inside of a microwave oven.
And, by this time, insomnia was met with headaches for my wife and extremely dry eyes for both of us.
Radiation first effects where you have the least blood flow- your eyes and testicles. My eyes were clearly bothered before I got the meter. Now that I have the meter- I feel/fear like my testicles might be too. (These are the moments it is hard to separate feeling and thoughts). Intense radiation causes infertility.
Here is a list of eye problems that develop after intensive radiation. They say that the onset of these eye diseases is 6 months to 3 years after exposure to the radiation. At first, all one feels is dry eyes- which is exactly my position. Extreme radiation leads to blindness after a few years. I hope I am no where close to that- but only time will tell.
I couldn’t take another moment of this invisible heat shower on me, that was literally drying up my insides.
I sat in bed last night, wide-eyed, every few minutes turning my meter on and scaring myself knowing the radiation levels flowing through my body.
And, I realized I had some power to end this now. I could turn off the fuse for upstairs and that portion of the apartment would go dark. I assumed that their big UPS batteries would keep it going for a while, but I was hoping it would at least die by the morning.
To my delight and surprise, the microcell transmitters turned off after just 5 minutes! I was free! The radiation totally dropped away and life was (almost) back to normal.
Here is the radiation showing in my bedroom after turning off the power to the microcell transmitters:
That is a drop from up to 325 mw/m2 to just .0021 mw/m2.
The contrast is indisputable.
Remember- the landlord promised that we had “no radiation.”
I wrote to my landlord with the results:
What response would you expect from Alex?
“Ken, I am sorry, I feel so bad.” NOPE
“That is horrible- I had no idea. Let me help you in getting out of there as soon as possible.” NOPE
So, how did he respond to this health crisis of ours?
He wrote: “You make a big mistake…. it is illegal to disable (the power) yourself.”
Then he tells me that my “illegal act” caused “great financial lost to me.”
Zero concern for my health or the radiation levels. He had one concern only- his money.
No apology that my health is failing due to the radiation machine that he attached to the wall 2 meters from my bed and 1 meter from my desk.
I asked him to refund the money I paid until the end of December so that I can get out now. He responded, “ If you want to leave before the 31/12/16 this is your lopsided decision.” He refused to even refund me for the next 45 days that I had already paid for.
I never imagined it would go so extreme, that he could be so selfish, so cruel, so attached to money and so willing to destroy the health of others to get it.
I used to have a lot of sympathy for him as his son is suffering from Crohn’s disease- an autoimmune disease.
However, I am truly perplexed how he could subjugate us to radiation which has been proven to cause such autoimmune diseases.
How can someone feel so much pain for the poor turn in health of his son but then set others up for potentially the same fate?
How can the government turn a blind eye to these microcell installations in town? Scientists say that people should live below them, not on the same horizontal plane as them. Yet, here they allow Alex and OTE to install this health destroying technology just a few meters from my bed.
“The Oberfranken study evaluated medical complaints of 356 people with long-term radiation in their homes. Above 100 microW/m2, only 5–6% of the people did not have adverse health effects. This is a level far below current safety standards.”
That is 95% of people living in high radiation homes have health problems.
That is almost a guarantee.
Alex almost guaranteed I would have a health problem. Or, the next tenant would have a health problem. Or, my neighbors would have a health problem.
And, we are allowing greedy Alex, morally corrupt OTE, and the irresponsible Corfu/Greek government be our protectors?
We have a 95% chance of ending up sick with these technologies attached to our homes. And, it is allowed. Really?
This is the best we as a society can come to?
Does this apply to you?
Yes, if you ever sit on the backside of Josephine’s, Cafe Grec, or at Mic Mac’s, where another transmitter on a balcony disguised as a fire alarm showers intense radiation on the street below. (see here)
Yes, if you are one of these shopkeepers standing on that road, or any of the other ones in town that are bombarded with radiation.
Yes, if you spend significant time on the streets of Corfu- especially if you enjoying sitting for hours at cafes.
Yes, if you have a child. Children have lots of problems because of radiation, including autoimmune diseases.
But, is anyone willing to take a stand, to fight the battle, to educate and inform? Is anyone willing to do the work required to make ourselves safe from these predatory people who are willing to exploit our health for a buck?
Read more about radiation in Corfu town here, and discover some spots in town that you might want to avoid sitting.
To buy this meter: find it here on Amazon. I found it after much research- reading reviews and watching videos. The cheaper ones ($20–40) are not reliable. This is prosumer grade. The pro ones are expensive and only necessary if you need exact numbers for legal situations. But, in those cases, you’ll want to hire a pro anyway to document the numbers and provide evidence for the court.
Also, this meter not only measures RF (radio frequencies- which is microwaves, cellular signals, wifi, and bluetooth) but also settings to measure EMF (electromagnetic fields- from hair dryers, electronics, nearby power lines, bad electrical wiring, etc).
Do yourself a favor and buy one of these now.
Nov 11, 2016: I’ll keep this story updated here as it unfolds. I am now on night #2 of having the power off upstairs. Alex is accusing me of being “aggressive” for disregarding his orders to turn the power back on. He has yet to show any sign of remorse/apology.
I gave him an offer that I will walk without further hassle if he refunds me my full deposit, the amount prepaid through the end of December for rent, plus my losses/expenses on the move. That is €7500. He refuses.
Nov 12, 2016: Spoke with lawyers, neighbors, the local news, and the government. Planning our next steps.
Alex responds to my sharing this article with him:
So, now his discourse/positioning has changed- one from his previous promises of “no radiation” to one saying that his criteria in this situation is legal limits. So, as long as OTE is within legal limits- it would be fine for him that we are having health issues?
And, he claims to have told me the truth about everything- but clearly he was aware that radiation would be produced. So, he lied.
He also knows that I don’t even keep my mobile phone on during the day because I am concerned with radiation issues.
So, his version of what “the whole truth” is includes attempting to hide what knowledge of the transmitters from us and telling us that there is “no radiation.”
“The whole truth” means something very different to me.
Nov 13, 2016:
Last night he emailed me that he manually turned the transmitters off and requested that I turn the power on for the upstairs portion of the apartment. After receiving the email today, I turned on the power, and confirmed with my meter that the transmitters are off.
However, the moment I depart this apartment the transmitters will go back on and my neighbors will be blasted directly. And, a future tenant can walk into living here without any knowledge of the dangers that they are facing- the 95% chance that they will get health problems from long-term living here.
Here is a picture of the fake light transmitter and the balcony it aims directly at- which is just a few meters away.
Anyone who spends time on that balcony or even near those windows will get a dangerous blast of radiation.
I hear the owner of that apartment is a medical doctor. I have not been able to reach him yet to warn him about this situation. If you know him- share this article with him.
Nov 13, 2016:
My ophthalmologist in Chicago found that one of the leading experts on the effects of radiation on the eyes is based in Athens.
John Kanellopoulos, MD-Medical Director, The LaserVision.gr, Research & Clinical Eye Institute, 17 Tsocha Street, Athens, Greece 11521, +30(21)7472777.
I contacted him to arrange medical advise and likely an appointment.
Nov 13, 2016:
Shared this story on Facebook to raise awareness and hear the feedback of others.
Nov 14, 2016:
Submitted a report to: http://www.synigoros.gr/ — the Ombudsman Citizens for Greece. (The EU, on europa.eu, recommended this action) Wanting to know if there are requirements on disclosure by landlords and municipalities.
Contacted the Greek Atomic Energy Commission http://eeae.gr/ with all details, to attempt to better understand the legal nature of the situation and to determine which governing body is responsible for monitoring radiation levels from cellular towers. And, again, wanting to know if there are requirements on disclosure by landlords and municipalities.
Reported the non-approved cosmetic changes to my building (the fake lights) as well as the fake alarm boxes around town to UNESCO- which presides over this World Heritage Site. Wanting to discuss with UNESCO the issue of all of the transmitters be placed too close to people because of their cosmetic rules.
Filed complaint with Corfu government here: http://www.corfu.gr/ to understand their policy on placing transmitters close to people’s living quarters.
Contacted OTE with my complaint and request for the contact details of the person who authorized this microcell installation.
Next step… finalize my lawyer and develop a game plan. Goals: to protect my neighbors and the next tenants here, and to help build awareness around transparency on this issue- in Greece and internationally. (I’ve never been much of an activist, but here I go).
Nov 15, 2016:
I’ve been working with the helpful people in Athens at the Greek Atomic Energy Commission and we discovered two violations by my landlord/OTE on the installations.
Violation #1: They were granted permission to put the units in windows, not outside in those fake lights- which is highly relevant, as explained below:
Violation #2: They were granted permission to put the transmitters ABOVE where I live- on the 6th floor- not on the 5th floor.
This is from their official permission from the government. The transmitter on the top of the image is accurately positioned. However, the one on the bottom is a lie.
They actually use a different type of transmitter as to the one shown on the bottom, and it is located in a different place- one floor down, outside of my bedroom.
This approved arrangement would have been MUCH less dangerous for us- although still well beyond radiation levels I’d accept.
These two violations are the difference between me getting a direct radiation shot and just getting a little side-spray.
This information can be found here: http://keraies.eett.gr/
The Greek Atomic Energy Commission offered to send someone to my home to read the radiation levels. Everyone should know that this is an option if you are having doubts as to the radiation levels in your home or work.
The Greek Atomic Energy Commission supported me in filing a formal complaint against OTE’s installation via The Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).
Nov 17, 2016:
Got word that the installation of this microcell was illegal also because the landlord not got my permission to enter the apartment while I was out of the country. It seems that even if you own a place, once rented, you forgo rights to enter and to modify.
It is fascinating how little is known until one starts asking.
And, is is equally fascinating the gap between the rights people have here in Greece and their perception of their rights. I hear so many people feeling like getting overpowered and pushed around is their fate, yet when one asks questions to the right people it becomes clear that the system actually protects the common man quite well- one just needs to demand that.