The idea that a nation could use microwave radiation as a weapon dates back from the Cold War when Washington feared that Moscow would turn the technology into a mind-controlling weapon.
The U.S. military has also recently looked to develop such weapons to beam loud noises and even words into people’s heads so that they can use as a way to disable attackers.
But what about the weird ailments and symptoms from late 2016, when over three dozen U.S. diplomats and their families in Cuba and China were affected?
Those incidents resulted in a diplomatic rupture between Washington and Havana.
At that time, 21 diplomats from Cuba were examined by a medical team, and reported the findings in JAMA, with no mention of microwaves.
However, things change with the recent statement from the lead author of that study, Douglas H. Smith, who is also the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania. He explained that they consider microwaves to be the main suspect:
“Everybody was relatively skeptical at first and everyone now agrees there’s something there.”
An “Immaculate Concussion”
Both the team of doctors and diplomats jokingly agreed that the trauma was like an “immaculate concussion.”
The diplomats suffered head traumas and reported painful noises, so experts concluded that it was more likely a strike with microwaves than viral infections or anxiety.
American Scientist Allan Frey, found that microwaves can trick the brain to think that it hears ordinary sounds. These sensations were experienced by the ambassadors: loud noises, ringing, buzzing, grinding, which experts thought to an attack with sonic weapons.
The U.S. State Department commented on the microwave theory, saying that they don’t know the source or the cause of those attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t want to provide information on the status of their investigation or if they consider looking into any of the theories presented by the scientists.
But how would these weapons look like? Pretty much like a satellite dish, said experts. They could be placed on a car, boat, helicopter or they can be hand-held, the latter a lot less powerful – it could work over short distances.
James C. Lin (University of Illinois) published a scientific paper investigating the Frey effect and stated that the symptoms of the diplomats were from microwave beams.
High-intensity beams of microwaves could have made the diplomats experience loud noises, nausea, headaches and vertigo, even brain injury. The beams could hit “only the intended target.”
One month later, in a long investigation, ProPublica mentioned that the federal investigators were considering the microwave theory. Then, the wife of a member of the embassy staff stated in an interview that she looked outside her home after she heard the noises and saw a van speeding away – a van that could have had an antenna inside.
Some of the diplomats that heard those noises covered their ears, but couldn’t reduce the sound. Then, they developed signs of concussion without receiving blows to the head. Later, U.S. diplomats in China experienced similar traumas.
The case might remain unsolved for now, because the federal investigators cannot easily gather clues in foreign countries or file charges.
“Based on what I know, it will remain a mystery,” concluded Mr. Frey himself.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.