Microwave weapons may have caused the mysterious brain injuries suffered by US diplomats in Cuba and China — here’s how they might work
It’s a mysterious story about secret weapon technology that keeps getting stranger and stranger.
This story began with a group of US diplomats and their families that had been stationed in Cuba. The diplomatic personnel began reporting headaches, ear-ringing, nerve damage, and other mysterious symptoms that doctors diagnosed as caused by mild traumatic brain injuries.
At first, there was speculation that these injuries may have been caused by some sort of sonic weapon, but experts said such devices couldn’t exist. Alternative explanations like viruses or mass hysteria were considered. Meanwhile, new cases of similar injuries showed up in China.
Now, as the New York Times revealed with a story that could be ripped from a sci-fi plot, some of the doctors who analyzed the brains of affected patients believe the injuries could have been caused by “microwave weapons.”
Microwave weapons suspected in US embassy ailments – report
Doctors and scientists increasingly suspect attacks with microwave weapons are the cause of the mysterious ailments that have stricken more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China, the New York Times reported.
The victims reported hearing intense high-pitched sounds in their hotel rooms or homes, followed by symptoms that included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss.
But the lead author, Douglas Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Times microwave weapons are now considered a main suspect and the team is increasingly sure the diplomats suffered brain injuries.
“Everybody was relatively skeptical at first,” he was quoted as saying, “and everyone now agrees there’s something there”.
Neither the state department nor the FBI has publicly pointed to microwave weapons. The Times said there were many unanswered questions as to who might have carried out the attacks and why.
Cuba has denied any role in or knowledge of the incidents but in September 2017 the US recalled more than half of its staff from the embassy and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington. In June 2018, the state department announced it had sent home US personnel from China after they reported similar incidents.
According to the Times, an American scientist, Allan Frey, discovered in 1960 that the brain can perceive microwaves as sound. The discovery opened a new field of weapons research in the US and the Soviet Union.
The Russians called the envisioned weapons “psychophysical” or “psychotronic”, according to the Times, which said the US Defense Intelligence Agency warned in 1976 that Soviet research showed potential for “disrupting the behavior patterns of military or diplomatic personnel”.
Microwave Weapons Are Prime Suspect in Ills of U.S. Embassy Workers
Doctors and scientists say microwave strikes may have caused sonic delusions and very real brain damage among embassy staff and family members.
During the Cold War, Washington feared that Moscow was seeking to turn microwave radiation into covert weapons of mind control.
More recently, the American military itself sought to develop microwave arms that could invisibly beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people’s heads. The aims were to disable attackers and wage psychological warfare.
Now, doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. The Cuban incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Havana and Washington.
The medical team that examined 21 affected diplomats from Cuba made no mention of microwaves in its detailed report published in JAMA in March. But Douglas H. Smith, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a recent interview that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury.