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.

Comments: 245

  1. The video accompanying this article should be required viewing for all defenders of democracy. It seems the U.S. military currently has the technology to effectively disable organized protest. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. @BobMeinetz "It seems the U.S. military currently has the technology to effectively disable organized protest." "Our" police and surveillance state wants to deploy this technology to the local police so you will feel safe.

  3. @BobMeinetz: The military and police have always had the ability to disable organized protest. Only the rule of law prevents them from doing so.

  4. @Fourteen . This seems to be an easily transferrable technological gimmick, but obscenely destructive in the wrong hands. When did that ever work out to everyone's satisfaction?

  5. Another mystery.......Microwaves are easily detected. Why weren’t sensors deployed as part of an investigation ?

  6. @Bongo I suspect that if sensors were deployed, any information gathered would not be disclosed, and the presence of sensors would itself have been classified. The attacks were intermittent--and at least one discussed was in a non-embassy site (the home of the victim). Portable sensors would have been required and also required to be with the possible targets at all times. Further, it is highly likely that security authorities knew or suspected a microwave attack from the moment it was reported. Sensors could have been made available within days of the first reports of the disturbance.

  7. @Bongo According to the article, the attacks ceased before an adequate defense/detection could be set up: " giving the agents relatively little time to gather clues".

  8. It's not just US personnel that were targeted. Canadian embassy staff in Cuba, and members of their families, were also affected (e.g. https://www.macleans.ca/news/how-canadian-diplomats-in-cuba-are-being-ac...

  9. @Karl Gauss It is quite remarkable that Canada parted ways with America in terms of setting its relationship with Cuba during the Cold War; Pierre Trudeau got along with Castro very well, and Canada's vast distance from Cuba in contrast to that of the US explains why Ottawa chose not to sever all links with Cuba after Castro allied his island with the USSR.

  10. @Karl Gauss. Also China, Hong Kong?

  11. To think that having my house bathed in microwaves would mean I could leave my supper on the window sill and come home to find it cooked? I see a new cookbook coming out of all of this. Windowsill popcorn too.

  12. @John Doe: Microwave ovens operate at 2450 MHz, the resonant frequency of water. No other devices use that frequency because water is pervasive in the environment and it would interfere with anything else. That simple fact made the microwave oven industry possible. If the Cubans used microwaves, they probably used a different frequency because of the possibility that the diplomatic personnel would notice their water heating up for no reason, and so discover what was being done. Then there's the inverse square of the distance. The intensity of electromagnetic force (EMF) falls off quickly as you move away from the source. Enough EMF to heat water in your house would cook birds in flight at the cell tower.

  13. @mlbex. This is a widespread myth. See this: "... resonant interactions are not a major factor in the heating of liquids and solids in a microwave oven. … The major mechanism for heating water in a microwave oven is described as dielectric heating." http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Waves/mwoven.html

  14. @mlbex Water per se does not have a resonance frequency. Microwave ovens operate at 2.45gHz because that is the portion of the spectrum allocated by the FCC for un-licensed radiators. That piece of spectrum is also used by WiFi, which is why your computer stops communicating when you use a poorly designed microwave oven.

  15. Me-a-ham: Amateur radio operators ("hams") have known about electromagnetic energy's (radio, microwave, etc.) effect on the brain and other soft tissues for many years. In fact, the F.C.C., a long time ago, recommended that ham operators, especially when using high power transmitters, try to minimize that energy within their "radio shacks" and minimize their exposure time to it. It was observed, too, many years ago, that automobile drivers passing the very powerful Voice of America short-wave transmitting site in Bethany, Ohio (north of Cincinnati) experienced measurably increased reaction times to driving events while driving near the station. And, some countries have studied the effects of cell-phone electomagnetic radiation on the brain, especially when next to the ear, and recommend that the phone be kept away from the body and used in tge speaker-phone mode. To think that all that electromagnetic energy flowing into the "ether" we live in has no effect on us and other living creatures, in the short and long terms, is living in a fantasy. That type of energy has not been in existence, as such, long enough for us to really observe its effect on us.

  16. You seem to be mixing up different concepts involving electromagnetic radiation. I would recommend looking up the difference between frequency and intensity, and learning about the different properties that different frequencies of EM radiation has. You'll realize that radio waves do not have enough enegry, regardless of intensity, to do harm to the human body (unlike microwaves).

  17. @Dr. Mandrill Balanitis I agree with all you say here except in your last paragraph. This type of energy is, in fact, common in nature. The sun, like every other star, is a natural source of microwaves. Instead of seeming to imply that this form of electromagnetic energy is solely manmade, you should have made clear that it has been ubiquitous throughout humanity’s existence. The distinction you failed to make is one of continuity and intensity.

  18. @Dr. Mandrill Balanitis Yes. There are people who register the disturbance of subtle energy flow processes in the body and accordingly cannot bring themselves to use cell phones. They are so few though that we can allow ourselves to overhear and ridicule them. We keep escalating artificial radiation with abandon. Now we want to augment (let me do a wild guess: quadruple?) the thing with self-driving cars. Wise? How many R&D funds are allotted to efforts to monitor possible damage from cell phone and similar radiation? Are long-term studies being set up? Without that we're stuck with anecdotal evidence like that incidental psychiatrist I met who ended up with a brain tumor from listening to his clients all day, which is a comparable form of overexposure. A propos overexposure: what worries me even more is the Frey effect of Fox's Relentlessly Escalated Yelling, paid for by those who already managed to rule by engineering division, and now step up the effort in horror of the inevitable Wall their ship full of kleptocratic greed addiction rewards is heading for, straight ahead into it. I'm still trusting though that the Wall of (our sovereign heart's) Reason will not fall to the deflection of their trumped-up radiation Wall of Treason to Humanity.

  19. Why is there no discussion of diplomatic personnel wearing microwave detectors?

  20. I agree- this article completely ignores mitigation and security

  21. For anyone who read the New Yorker during the 1970s (or attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism during that era) couldn't help, when reading this article, but think of Paul Brodeur, who was far ahead of his time in warning of the dangers of microwave radiation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Brodeur

  22. @Doug Hill https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.5.8056/full/ Please read this for a bit of nuance and some pretty heavy scientific criticism of Paul Brodeur. Basically there is very likely no there. there. An epidemilogical association is not evidence of cause and effect, but it sure does stir up fear.

  23. If I remember my physics correctly, a Faraday cage, of copper mesh surrounding a room or building would keep signals from outside getting in and signals from inside getting out. I would have though this would be standard procedure in a building such as an embassy.

  24. Me-opines: "Money, money, money, money, ... MONEY!" (from the movie score) plus the state of denial that stuff like that could/would happen, are, in my opinion, the causes of not having a Faraday Shield or other means of detection and repelling such energies built into embassies and diplomats' residences. Of course there would need to be additional protections for when the individual(s) are in public spaces.

  25. @stan continople That embassy was officially closed, with just a skeleton crew to keep the facility maintained. I saw it myself a few years ago while visiting before the brief "opening" of Cuba during Obama's final term. I'm sure any modernization of the security hasn't been happening in the last fifty years. It was completely vulnerable.

  26. @stan continople Yup - They don't have to be copper, can be something cheaper and lighter like aluminum. They do have to be grounded. Small mesh cages, maybe like body bags, could be built and deployed very cheaply, at least for testing purposes. It's a mystery why this should remain a mystery.

  27. If memory serves me correctly there was speculation that was also a problem in Moscow in the 50's with the Great Seal Bug.

  28. The Great Seal had a passive radiating device inside. Sound vibrations would cause a thin metal plate mounted on a tuned chamber (tuned for a specific radio frequency: resonant to that frequency) to flex which changed the electrical characteristics (the resonance) of the device. Those changes caused a radio signal aimed at it to be changed a tiny bit (modulated) when it was reflected back to a receiving device. When the returned, modulated, radio wave was demodulated, the voices would be heard. That method was/is a form of frequency modulation (FM) and is still used today to detect motion, etc..

  29. @Mark - didn't the Russians also deploy a device called "The Woodpecker" to beam EM waves at the U.S.?

  30. Maybe the Trump administration did this to the embassy in order to derail US-Cuban relations. A little out-there, I know, but I wouldn't put it past them.

  31. @Liz. My immediate thought at the time was that the Russians were responsible and their motivation was to disrupt the Obama administration’s efforts at normalizing US/Cuba relations. I’m certain that Putin could not have been very happy at the prospect of losing an old client state to the US sphere of influence.

  32. @Mesmo -- Russians? The other place that it happened was in China, and not in areas of China frequented by Russians or Western offices. Why would the Russians do it in only two places, Cuba and more remote areas of China? Would China mess with our diplomacy, or push back at our Monroe Doctrine?

  33. we'll never know for sure but absolutely the US govt. is on the short list of supsects as well. The second paragraph of the article should make that clear.

  34. Exposure to microwave radiation may have well been coincidental,and not intended or desired. Microwaves can be used to power devices such as "bugs", and that has been known and shown for many decades. The problem with that use of microwaves is that tissues in living organisms, including us, absorb microwaves quite well, and with possible untoward effects. I wonder if our embassies and the personnel's living quarters have detectors for microwave radiation; if not, they are not expensive.

  35. @Pete in Downtown I wonder if we use microwaves in our embassies and whether we misused them. I would have liked to have heard that we do not use them or that a mistake has been ruled out.

  36. Many of the incidents took place in living quarters, not at an embassy. That would seem to rule out your worry.

  37. @Pete in Downtown But this incident seems to have targeted Embassy personnel. No one else reported these effects.

  38. It was the late 1960s. As a young physicist, working in my first job in the research division of a large American corporation, I was asked to look into the research of Dr. Vladimir Gavreau. Gavreau had studied possible physiological effects of what he described as focused infrasound. He went so far as to postulate that such effects do exist and could be weaponised. At the time, I confess, I thought the ideas were rather cranky. But now, reading this latest article, I begin to wonder . . .

  39. Presumably these buildings are filled with all sorts of sophisticated communications equipment. Is it possible that a microwave transmitter of our own is inadvertantly doing this ? I'll admit far fetched, but I haven't seen it discussed or dismissed, and the common thread is this is happening on US embassy properties, which might have similar equipment set ups in high risk countries.

  40. @Jim Z I was thinking the same thing. And it is a fact that many U.S. embassies, including the Cuban one, employ jamming technology to prevent unfriendly governments form listening in. It is not so far-fetched to believe that some of that jamming might have harmed U.S. personnel, presumably unintentionally. It's not impossible that those responsible for it might have realized it later but covered up that knowledge, allowing the blame to be put on Cubans and Russians instead. I also wonder if a very thin layer of metal, applied around the head, might prevent microwave effects on people, or at least the most susceptible people. One could envision such a simple device, let's call it a "hat," being made of tin foil, even by lone individuals seeking to silence the voices beamed into their heads...

  41. @Scott Baker-- Perhaps it can be cumulative, so that the background use made people more vulnerable to attack.

  42. @Jim Is there actually such a thing as a "microwave transmitter?"

  43. Mysterious and dramatic occurrences such as these will inevitably attract many theories, as do SIDS and the UFO phenomenon. All will appear credible to general observers when proposed by expects in the field. Each will be promoted by those experts, who would certainly think of it quickly as a potential explanation and who may have an interest in the attention that it focuses on their specialty. And, of course, the journalist who first publicizes the explanation that is eventually accepted will contribute to his own reputation for acuteness.

  44. @ERP -- These reasonable concerns for hype and abuse of the topic are best met by responsible discussion, preferably before they pick up speed on their own.

  45. And yet knowing all this about the powers of microwave on the human brain, we are allowing the communications (phone etc) industry to place microwave stations every 500 feet to run our dinner-warmers, baby watchers, police listeners, etc, in the so-called 5G Rollout, which will expose huge parts of the population to low frequency microwaves 24/7. The more sensitive among us will suffer many of the effects mentioned in this article. So why is the 5G rollout being pushed through without any public comment allowed?

  46. @Jill M Cell towers are not aiming focused beams of microwaves at your body.

  47. @Jill M - Money, pure and simple.

  48. @Disembodied Internet Voice Sometimes they do if you live near a cell tower.

  49. Long ago, when much younger, after reading about being able to hear radio signals directly, I experimented with exposing my head to RF. What little direct hearing of radio frequency energy I observed was probably due to heating of auditory tissue. Thus I am not inclined to believe the "direct hearing of Cuban signals" stories.

  50. One could also conclude a possible self inflicted wound due to the low tech use of microwave emitters used inside these embassy offices for security and motion detection. If poorly placed relative to where human heads might travel, a person might receive as much as 10,000 times the radiation exposure as planned. This is a far more likely scenario than the Russian bogey man did it, Further, the Canadians are claiming their embassy was effected as well.

  51. @Roy , Did you note that the article described attacks in homes— with a van seen speeding away after one incident?

  52. Perhaps it's too much to ask, but couldn't the article have listed some of the ways scientists suggest people might protect themselves from microwave beams? Or do we have to rely on Google to answer that question?

  53. Water is great at absorbing microwaves, so take long baths or just hang out in the pool more. Even better, broad spectrum microwave radiation reflection is 97% for aluminum, so an aluminum foil-lined had would work well. Source: https://is.gd/uUbKZ0 But don’t use tin! Tin is absorptive.

  54. @Stacy Prowell, thank you!

  55. A home microwave cooker shields users from microwave energy by means of its metal-lined compartment, and the metal screen over the window. This raises the question of whether embassies and other sensitive locations could be similarly shielded from this threat, perhaps by using a specially designed metal screen over the windows, floors, walls, etc. Don't laugh, but something as simple as an aluminum-foil hat might offer some protection.

  56. @Dan Frazier - Put your cell phone inside the microwave oven, and then call it from another phone. Your cell phone will ring, inside that “shielded” oven.

  57. Cell phones use similar frequencies, and right next to the head. Perhaps they are not as strong, but they are far more frequent. I'd like to see more discussion of "radio-frequency sickness" of the sort that has its own peer reviewed journal, and that is the basis of weapons development since the 1960's. It is inconvenient, and might cause concerns about big money businesses. Those are just more reasons to examine it, not reasons to stay away from the subject. I hope this comment is not dismissed as tin-foil-hat concern, not the subject itself. Sure, it could be abused like anti-vaxers go on with little real science, but there is some actual science here and it deserves discussion (not panic, not instant conclusions).

  58. The tin foil hat wearers will eat this up. I would imagine the microwave oven testers that can be bought for the price of a restaurant meal seem like the best way for a paranoid to address this threat. Even though the frequency is likely slightly different, the cheap detectors likely don’t have advanced notch filters to narrow the range. Further into the future it seems likely that cell phones, which use the same frequencies, could have an background app that measures and records microwave levels over time. The biggest mystery is why this explanation has not been considered until now. Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation has been shown to affect brain functioning with roughly similar frequencies so nobody should be surprised by this.

  59. @Ted Flunderson - Perhaps the main reason why this explanation has not been considered until fairly recently is due to people dismissing it jokingly as “tinfoil hat paranoia“, despite the science that has long confirmed it. We flood our environment with a spectrum of radiation, ignoring and dismissing how it affects our body-minds, at our own peril.

  60. @Ted Flunderson- Yes Ted, but the unavoidable fact is the tin foil hat set may ivery well have a point. Like Woody Allen said, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  61. The spectrum of radiation which we call "light". It's flooding into my environment through all the windows right now.

  62. Microwaves at a power level sufficient to cause "brain-tissue injury" are easy to detect. Portable instruments are readily available for this purpose. For example, a simple commercial version can be bought from Radio Shack for under $10, for detecting leakage from a household microwave oven. These sorts of techniques are well known to every television broadcast engineer, airport radar technician and appliance repairman. I suppose the real question is, why haven't these techniques been used in American embassies overseas? These facilities are routinely swept for listening devices, many of which operate in the microwave bands. For example, a standard Wi-fi operates at 2.4 or 5.8 Ghz -- both of which are microwave frequencies. I would also assume that these facilities are instrumented for continual monitoring of microwave emissions.

  63. @W Exactly! A recording detector with an alarm could have been easily deployed when people first began reporting symptoms. If they're not available, they could easily be developed by one of many companies that work in that field. That this wasn't done reveals a staggering lack of competence at the State Department and heads should roll.

  64. @CCryder The equipment you suggest is readily available to the U.S. military, and so it is available the State Department. It is standard fare for any military deployment, where control of the RF spectrum is equal to the role of air superiority. If an adversary turns on a cell phone (a microwave emitter), electronic warfare surveillance equipment can automatically determine latitude and longitude and plot coordinates for an artillery or missile response. Just search the internet for "electronic-warfare aircraft", and you'll see dozens of examples of this exact technology. The catch here is that electronic warfare is among the most secretive in the government sphere. Shame on them if they didn't use it. But the more likely scenario is that they didn't find anything, or else they would have said something. If the had found something, no secrets would have been divulged by announcing what they may have found, such as frequency, power levels and source of these emissions. In my opinion the most likely scenario is that there were no microwave emissions powerful enough to cause tissue damage.

  65. Cell phone apps are also available, for free.

  66. Really great writing by William Broad on the technical aspects of this phenomenon as well as the political consequences. It seams as if these weapons are difficult to detect, possibly being transported in common vans. As for the purpose of using them, the microwave weapons might just be experimental at this point. Clearly they have produced some data for the attackers. Their effects are a lot like Russia's interference in our elections. There was a planned infiltration into U.S. social media, but no real, well-defined, expected result, other than chaos. It was an experiment that appears to have helped trump get elected, which does benefit the geopolitical aims of Russia, but probably exceeded Russian expectations. Similarly for the Frey Effect attacks; the attackers can't know of any resulting planned result, other than chaos. Attacking embassy personnel has a fruitlessness about it. Countries are already constantly pulling their embassy personnel in various protests to the recalcitrant actions of their hosting countries. One desired result might be to discourage U.S.-Cuban relations, as William writes here, but our relationship is already on a wing and a prayer. Russia's debt forgiveness does a far better job than microwaves. Well, we can build Faraday cages around our embassies and their personnel's living quarters. It's much harder to deal with the deleterious effects of social media manipulation.

  67. What do you know....another Trump connection benefitting Russia. The November elections can’t come soon enough. We need changes now.

  68. isn't this too much of stretch of the imagination from paranoia? what are those supposedly culprits will gain from attack? are they dumb enough to try on our diplomats, from one of most sophisticated, scrutinize people?. they could easily try on the unfortunate people such as the prisoner or own commoner(albeit inhuman behavior) instead of the diplomat from the foreign country especially the US? are they so dumb to try this new weapon, if you want to call it, against the foreign diplomats? if this device is so small and able to carry in a car, they could smuggle to the Capitol Hills and try to microwave against our politicians and the President and control their mindset to be civilized and for the people(for the sake of helping the US for a change) instead of the current merry-go-round fiasco. this will give another bravado to set up another division of mind control army in addition to the Space Army to waste another taxpayers money.

  69. I don't mean to summons the lunatic fringe but Nikola Tesla was the actual discoverer of what he called Extra Low Frequency Waves back in 1899 at his Colorado Springs Laboratory. Though disparaged by hard science (as typified below from a Rational Wiki link) his subseuent claims eerily anticipate this entire article, while the fact that "The Russians" got a jump on these technologies has been bandied about in "hard" and "soft" science circles for decades. Note: the caustic tone of the following is not mine nor does it reflect my high opinon of Nikola Tesla. "So-called targeted Individuals also blame ELF for a host of imagined problems including violent behavior, cramps, seizures, voices, and induced dreams, which they claim are somehow simultaneously caused by microwaves." Tad Wise author of the biogaphical novel TESLA

  70. @Tad Wise It is impossible to stealthily focus ELF EM waves because of their huge wavelengths, which would require enormous directional antennas, with elements having dimensions measured in significant fractions of a mile. Even with such antennas, the focus would still be "blurry."

  71. It may be time to develop tinfoil hats for our diplomats and other government personnel overseas. On a more serious note, physical attacks on Americans, particularly diplomats, by foreign adversaries is a very serious matter. It’s worthy of diplomatic expulsions and hefty sanctions. For some reason, I doubt Trump would be inclined to sign off if it upsets his friends, Putin and Xie.

  72. ".... Dr. Frey says he doubts the case will be solved anytime soon.". Of course not. It's just one more way trump is tearing us down. The more he does, Putin lessens his Russian debt. Just like with Cuba. Putin re establishes his cubin ties, and the debt Cuba owes is dropped.

  73. Can a metal screen worn on the head like a helmet shileld the brain if an attack is felt or detected? It could be made light and cheap.

  74. lots of people go around with aluminum foil yarmulkas, but there is little scientific evidence of their efficacy against terrestrial opponents. they are mostly effective against Venusian mind control beams, which work on an entirely different principle. on a lighter note, if the majority of the victims were in US diplomatic installations abroad, in Communist countries with which we have somewhat fraught relationships, what are the chances the microwaves, if any, were leakage from our own equipment at these installations, and meant to be directed outgoing and not incoming?

  75. It seems that security of our diplomatic personnel will have to expand to surveilling the peripheries of diplomatic residences. Compounds for diplomats with nothing around them for a mile radius. RUSSIA is written all over this. At a time when the U.S. President is a Russian stooge. Even if Trump's corrupt connections to Russia and all of the kompromat that they have on him are revealed, what next? It is difficult to look to the horizons and not see catastrophic storms.

  76. Like blinding lasers, directed microwave energy is another weapon in the arsenal of the next war. Or civil war. Are people ready for the concept of Vx being delivered in a swarm of microdrones for target assassinations?

  77. The article asks "Who fired the beams? The Russian government? The Cuban government? A rogue Cuban faction sympathetic to Moscow?" but it fails to list a third possibility, which is that the beams could have been fired by Cuban anti-communists (see Bay of Pigs Invasion). There are members of that group who at least have a good reason for doing so, as many Cuban anti-communists have been critical of the warming relations between Cuba and the US. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, however I feel that the article is not balanced if it leaves out a major possibility.

  78. @Timothy True. There are also US elements that would love to break up any US/Cuba rapport, if it comes to that. Could they manage something like this? If we don't know what "something like this" actually is, that remains a question.

  79. How would microwaves be delivered? A truck, antenna atop, making circles around US embassy? No too obvious. A truck, antenna atop, at a radius of 2 city blocks. Microwave easily pass through --- wait I can't put metal in my microwave oven. A truck, antenna atop, at a radius of 2 city blocks with a "look" at embassy that is unobstructed by anything metallic, re-bar in adjacent buildings? Huh!

  80. @RAG How about a van with plastic panels that are transparent to microwaves, with an antenna inside. This would look just like any other van once it was painted.

  81. A militarized physical attack on United States officials by a foreign adversary. I can imagine what Ronald Reagan's response would be, and it would be swift and definitive. But we have a house and senate controlled by people who bear little resemblance to Ronald Reagan. We have a republican president who bears little resemblance to any past President of the United States or, for that matter, any functional, reasonable, intelligent, human being. How will Trump respond? He would like to blame Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Maybe he will. But he will not blame Vladimir Putin who has increased relations with Cuba since taking power. That would be in keeping with his nostalgic fondness for a rebirth of the Soviet Union. If we were not rendered impotent by the rule of law, a fact that Trump and his republican enablers take full advantage of, our president would have been led out of the oval office in handcuffs by now. Instead we watch as our country crumbles in slow motion. Maybe Putin will invite Trump to the massive war games they plan to hold with China next month. It would be an opportunity to bring his "asset" home. Out of harms way?

  82. "Last month, JAMA ran four letters critical of the March study, some faulting the report for ruling out mass hysteria." The last term surely smells of a Russian effort to discredit the findings: "hysteria" is a signature word of the Russian propaganda, among others like "paranoia", "provocation", or "russophobia", used when Russia is found out or accused of something it doesn't want to admit.

  83. Now we need to add Faraday cage helmets for our diplomatic personnel in addition to bullet proof vests, and other 007 devices. Radiation detectors - nuclear and microwave - should be de rigueur.

  84. Maybe Russian microwave weapons pointed at Trump's head over the years explains his behavior. I'm only half-joking...if this hypothesis turns out to be true, is it that far-fetched as an explanation for Trump's derangement?

  85. @Tom had similar thoughts. egad!

  86. Or more probable, those with Trump Derangement Syndrome...

  87. Surprised the embassies don't have shielding such as radio-opaque gyproc as part of routine embassey and residence building standards. They should check all their own electronic equipment as this may be the source of the problem.

  88. @FreddieBeach If I remember right, the attacks didn't take place in the embassy, but in hotel rooms and apartments here and there in the area. One of the aspects people were wondering about was that the equipment, if there was any, would have to be portable.

  89. A microwave source seems the most reasonable. Aren't there instruments that can certify the presence of such phenomena. Stop the guesswork.

  90. Directed or focused microwave energy can be reduced or eliminated by Faraday cage type technology. It can also be detected by commonly available radio spectrum analysis equipment. A prolonged exposure or attack can be source pinpointed by radio direction finder technology. I can only assume these investigative techniques were used by our agencies.

  91. Fascinating article, thank you. Our diplomatic personnel are 'out there' for all of us, and I would hope our government gives those afflicted by these attacks all the support possible. I do think it's very premature to be speculating on the sources and reasons for what's going on. Given the simplicity of the methods, the perpetrator could be someone without any official sanction at all. At least we now know there was some reason behind the Trump administration's actions against Cuba, and not just a desire to reorder President Obama's policy.

  92. In the interests of making lemonade: They mentioned even the deaf can "hear" these signals. I wonder if there is a positive here: a new method of communication for the deaf? I'd imagine it would take a lot of research to find a way to do this safely and with enough sensitivity. But perhaps some day a device could deliver to the deaf warnings at road crossings about oncoming traffic, audiobooks, the dialog in movies, school lectures, etc.

  93. So, yet another attack on our country. Yet 30-40% — basically Trump’s base — see nothing wrong with colluding with, or conspiring with, a foe. They now mouth Trump’s /Fox “news’” words (is there a difference?) and say it’s good to talk to Russia, it’s good to get close. Such saps. The Republican Party can never again claim to be the party that makes us secure. Just like they’ll never again be the party of law and order.

  94. well said!

  95. The oddest part of this “attack” is that no affected person has come forward to be interviewed, and no one ever seems to be named in an article. The timing of the “attack”, at the start of the current administration (sic), was suspect to begin with, but the invisibility of the victims continues to make for strange reports about no one. It’s wonderful that all these microwave experts suddenly realize that an Amana with the door off was used to aim brain damage from across the plaza in front of the embasssy, and through all the steel and stone that make up the exterior of the building, but where are the damaged people?

  96. Microwaves towers for cell phones might explain why people who claim to be morally upright Americans voted for trump. They didn't understand the grunts he was making.

  97. Very funny. Or is it a rational explanation?

  98. The article doesn't mention detectors even once. And the only reference to measurement is in this sentence: "A man who measured radar signals at a nearby G.E. facility ..." Radars use microwaves, and military aircraft may be equipped with such detectors, so there is certainly technology available to investigate the problem. The Wikipedia article titled "Radar warning receiver" has more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_warning_receiver

  99. It doesn't mention detectors, it doesn't mention the obvious precautions you could take, it doesn't mention all the scientists who say that a microwave attack of this nature is scientifically implausible and it doesn't mention that many experts believe this is in fact a case of mass hysteria.

  100. This seems like a very plausible explanation. It seems to me that if we can shield ourselves from the radiation from our microwave ovens, we could shield our diplomats from microwave radiation in their sleeping quarters.

  101. I've been following this story since the injured diplomats' conditions were first reported. Attacking diplomats and families is just particularly horrifying. And I keep thinking of the SF stories I read as a child - those fictional weapons invented by Asimov and Heinlein now become real. And how many watched the "Active Denial Video"? A few times the the narrator comments that this can be used for "crowd control" ... So much for storming the Bastille.

  102. @Jenny Marie The State Department cares little for its employees, and thus typically waits for disaster to strike before taking preemptive protective measures. This is a perfect example.

  103. @Jenny Marie The Active Denial Video was chilling. It can be used to disable people who are simply exercising a right to demonstrate as easily as someone who is actually an enemy. It claims the effect goes away, but the DOD has never been too picky about exposing people -even its own - to terrible long term effects. It's as we are finding with drones: once they're out there, anyone can use them. For anything.

  104. @Jenny Marie as the spouse of a diplomat, I've been terrified since our first child was born 14 years ago. Foreign Service kids are easy targets since unlike military kids, they usually go to local schools and live in regular neighborhoods instead of a heavily guarded base. We were stationed in Cuba a few years before the attacks, but I'll be honest--there are alot of things that worry me more than secret brains-scrambling weapons. Bosnia still has landmines, for example--and then there's always good old fashioned terrorist attacks to keep me up at night...

  105. Bill— you might also mention that the Russians beamed microwaves at the US embassy in Moscow in 1971. We never determined whether it was against personnel or to activate listening devices buried in the walls of the building.

  106. Up to the time Guglielmo Marconi created wireless systems using radio wave the Earth's electromagnetic spectrum was pristine. Eons of life evolved absent the disruptions and interference of microwaves and all modern radio wave technologies. Slightly more than 100 years has passed since our EM environment was in this pristine state. And the pollution of airwaves has massively accelerated since WWII. We now live in a EM soup that is constantly agitated with every manner of communication devices. The only way to get away from them is to build yourself a Faraday Cage that creates a zone freed of all this interference. The sheer amounts of money created by these technologies is a barrier to defend their use. What health and psychological problems have been created in tandem with the rise of radio and microwave tech? No real studies have been done to identify their long term downside. Perhaps diseases like Guillain–Barré syndrome - in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves and damages their myelin insulation - is just people's bodies reacting to these constant, long term disruptions. Maybe EM disruption plays into the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. Like callouses building up on the foot when you walk. Your body adjusts to the constant friction to protect itself. But we don't have a control group of families living in Faraday Cage-like houses to contrast with families exposed to the EM sewer we live in.

  107. You make an excellent point by putting this in an evolutionary context. The electromagnetic fog you describe will never be voluntarily undone, so we have no way to really know whether or how it has affected us humans. If it is hurting us, we won't be able to see it. I don't lie awake thinking about such things, but your comment really does provide food for thought.

  108. @medianone But we don't have a control group of families living in Faraday Cage-like houses to contrast with families exposed to the EM sewer we live in. No, but we do have very smart people with advanced degrees in physics who would be dismayed by such armchair “science” speculation.

  109. So, this is serious and I feel for our diplomats who have been harmed. But at the same time, I can't help think of all the tinfoil-hat types and how, guess what, actually the CIA _could_ be beaming voices into their heads! Great, just great. And this won't help us as right-wing nutcases are on the rise, it's just another half-true danger that they will spin into the second coming of Cthulhu. Looking at a different angle, it makes me wonder, too, about all the cellphones we tote about, and the microwaves they send and receive. So-called ELF ("extremely low frequency") radiation was discarded as a serious worry some time ago, but now I wonder if we aren't all jangling our brains just a little bit with the microwaves directly. Hmmm, could that help explain everyone's addictive behavior to their little screens? We should be so lucky to have this excuse, but seriously, I wonder...

  110. @Meta-Nihilist ELFs were reduced as a concern because there was rapid fall off in intensity from some sources that worried people - like high power electric transmission lines. ( don't know if utilities did anything to reduce emissions from local street transformers) Electric blankets were wired differently to cancel out the effect ( but who is checking the imports?). I do wonder what all of the combined electro- effects are in homes now, with so many devices in use.

  111. The story here is the disgusting arms research that our tax money is invested in. Now that germ warfare is banned, sonic psychological warfare seems like an alternative strategy sending voices, messages, and painful noises that produce neural and brain damage. An alternative weapon against foreign enemies that could be useful for many domestic purposes such as mob control. Charge sonal microwave instead of water hoses or tear gas against protesters. Also, this sound like a real Manchurian candidate project.

  112. The State Department -- whose motto, I like to say, is "Firmly Yielding" -- will never admit that its diplomats were the target of Chinese, Russian or Cuban microwave radiation attacks because to do so would require a US response, and that, in turn, would take spine.

  113. The idea that someone can attack you, remotely from the street, quietly, cheaply is terrifying. Think of it, any person could shoot microwaves through walls into a building, a store, your house, etc. quietly microwaving your brain and body. I’m glad, but almost surprised this isn’t more of a common thing.

  114. @PNicholson Microwaves are a LARGE band of frequencies. Don't associate them with just microwave ovens. These are usually space based, satellite weapons or large, power hungry devices. Originally designed to kill the electronics of missiles fired from the ground, or to kill other satellites. These weapons have been re-purposed to attack people.

  115. @PNicholson Well in June, the news was abuzz with a new technology out of MIT that can use high density microwaves to "see" through walls. Is was celebrated for national security that if our country rolls out 5G antennae across the nation, then this camera could see into people's homes. I'm not concerned about someone seeing an Xray version of me putter about my kitchen, but it terrifies me what these microwaves are doing to my children. Rats raised in a normal level of 2G cell density were completely sterile by the 4th generation...

  116. Why are you so terrified of microwaves, but not terrified of sunlight, which is immensely more powerful and dangerous?

  117. About time this was written. Look into remote television studio link transmitters. They are high power microwave radios with a long tube directing microwave energy like a gun.

  118. The other day, I was taking a walk around my neighborhood and upon passing certain houses angled just the right way relative to the sun, I experienced a lot of heat reflected from their windows; I mean it felt hotter than the direct sunlight. Now I imagine diplomats have one thing in common: bullet proof windows at home. Is it possible that their windows themselves are transforming sun light into microwave radiation, either inadvertently or purposefully?!

  119. @Rich The degree to which you wish to give the benefit of the doubt to our adversaries is impressive, but misguided. No one that I know would knowingly welcome brain damage from their windows.

  120. Microwave radiation is far weaker and less dangerous than sunlight. Sunlight will actually give you radiation burns, as everybody knows. Microwaves won't and can't.

  121. There is no rational explanation why the Cubans would seek to sow chaos in US diplomatic relations with Cuba by using a covert weapon such as this because the Cubans would naturally deny such an act if they did such a thing precisely because it is a covert action. Denying the act would serve to undercut the antagonizing effects of the covert weapon. For either the Russians or Cubans to attack us covertly then deny that they did so may frustrate, those in the US who want to normalize relations with Cuba, and those persons charged with diplomacy would, in all reasonableness, shake it off and continue with normalizing diplomatic relations not only because that is the ultimate goal, but also to say you can't drive us away in secret, you're going to have to come out and do it in the open. However, those in the US who do not want to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba would jump at the opportunity -- any opportunity -- to revert back to antagonism, and so such a covert attack would be accepted if not appreciated for precipitating spite and mistrust. The question then arises who would have an interest in conducting a covert operation no one could find out about that would ostensibly be blamed on the host nation or its long-time benefactor and ally. The Cubans, by all accounts, want relations with Russia and the US, the Cubans would be angered and dismayed by Russia compromising its US relations, should Russia have done this, but there can be no doubt this benefits into Trump.

  122. And we don’t have, or can’t defend against, these weapons because we just gave a trillion dollars to the top 1% in tax cuts.

  123. @TheUglyTruth Silly comment. We have triple what the Russians, Chinese and Cubans have. But unlike the aforementioned, we also have respect of human life. Our response should be asymmetrical, aimed at the destruction of their satellites / weapons systems. As for the Cubans, just maintain the embargo.

  124. @TheUglyTruth, didn't you see? Diplomats and other non-military gov't employees are going without raises again this year. Make a few more cuts to education and other social programs and we'll have those weapons in no time. AND the top 1% gets to keep their cash. Sorted.

  125. Additionally, the complaints didn't occur only in Cuba. They happened not long after, in China too. I have no doubt at least in my mind that these communist nation's leaders were indeed commencing, covertly of course, instructions to their cyber/security experts to deploy these cyber weapons of radio-frequency radiation, and they were doing it simply because they could and because that is historically how communist nations behave. They do not like us and, sadly, we need to remind ourselves here in the developed world, that we cannot drop our guard when it applies to trusting them in business, commerce and basic policy. This is also why I continue to distress over the decades we've managed to ramp up our business friendly status with China to the degree that we have. Communist nations are never, ever to be trusted as far as one can throw the diplomatic purse in one pitch. Why our government refuses to acknowledge the microwave radiation culprit isn't lost on me. They're most likely not because it means admitting they dropped the ball keeping their diplomats safe in a unique diplomatic environment. Sort of sad.

  126. @RLC You have reached a conclusion for which there does not seem to be sufficient evidence. Which nation might have the most to gain from creating rifts between Cuba, China and the U.S? Russia? It may well be that Cuba and China are not behind these attacks at all.

  127. @C Spencer. Plenty of evidence- the ill-effects well documented by the victims. If our government wants to play dumb, for many reasons I can think of, that's even sadder. Doesn't even matter who initiated it, whether it's the Russians, Cuba or China. We should be taking their empty promises with a grain of salt. They are untrustworthy and should treat them as such.

  128. @RLC Of course it happened in China too! Why not, I guess ALL America's enemies have simultaneously developed mysterious and scientifically implausible weapons to surreptitiously attack embassy staff for no reason. Or alternatively, it's nothing more than mass hysteria spreading around paranoid US embassy staff.

  129. Russian use of microwaves seems to go back a couple of years earlier to 1959. NY Times archives: SOVIET RADIATION OF NIXON REPORTED, MAY 1, 1976, WASHINGTON, April 30 (AP) —Heavy radiation was discovered at the American Ambassador's residence in Moscow during Vice President Richard M. Nixon's visit there in 1959 but was halted after detection, according to two former Secret Service agents. For long term exposure, a microwave "dosimeter" might be more appropriate than a simple detector alone. Both can be in the same very small wearable device. Certainly, these well known technologies are well within the capability of our CIA, NSA, or other government tech groups or contractors.

  130. And the US itself was or was not operating any high power E/M communications systems in Havana, near the diplomats' offices? And in an era when the US was liberalizing its relations to Cuba, we think Cuba might try something so nasty? Does this make sense?

  131. All of known existence is simply particulate matter, resonating endlessly along a wave function? Neat.

  132. Along with knowledge of such weaponry should come the developing of something that can neutralize the effects of the waves. This also puts the jokes that were made about the microwave being used as a spy mechanism into a different light. https://www.thesouthafrican.com/trump-adviser-said-microwaves-were-used-...

  133. I am very sorry to put it this way, but I hate ignorance. The “weapon” cannot work, and the perfect shield for those afraid is indeed a Faraday cage, a tight-weave metal mesh “mosquito net going under the mattress as well as over.

  134. I've seen helmets suggested here a few times. I think the concern would be the potential for the head to end up between the transmitter and the helmet, causing the helmet to reflect additional energy into the brain. For a Faraday cage to be effective, you really need to be entirely enclosed. Considering the localized nature of the attack, as documented by JAMA, "...phenomena appeared to be localized to a precise area, as individuals (n = 12, 57%) noted that after changing location, the sensation disappeared and the associated symptoms reduced," and the fact that a number of these attacks woke the diplomats from their sleep, a simple solution would be a mosquito net style Faraday cage around the bed. This seems to be far preferable to otherwise damaging our relations with the host country, which would appear to be the attackers intention, considering the identical attacks in China and Cuba.

  135. Considering the "identical" attacks in Cuba and China, and the fact that these mysterious "weapons" seem to defy physics, I would suggest that the embassy staff are in fact suffering from psychogenic illness brought about by extreme paranoia.

  136. A Faraday cage is a wrapping of metal mosque netting. If you’ve ever looked at an old Bell System era telephone central office, you’ll notice mesh embedded in the windows - not to protect the glass from vandalism, but from an external electromagnetic pulse, that, in theory, could have damaged a crossbar switch, and could kill an ESS if someone left the doors open. Better to use an old fashioned EMP (electro- magnetic pulse) gun rather than microwaves. Dumping a couple of farads of supercapacitor would fo the trick these days, why new telco buildings are built like windowless concrete fortresses with screen embedded in the walls. Won’t hurt a person unless s/he shorts the device through his/her own body- the voltage won’t get you, but the amperage sure will.

  137. “But their diminutive size also enables tight focusing, as when dish antennas turn disorganized rays into concentrated beams.” Almost but not quite. Actually dishes turn collimated rays into concentrated beams, they cannot concentrate diffuse or disorganized rays.

  138. It would be simple and cheap to equip embassies and consulates with microwave or radio frequency detectors. I have a consumer level book that has plans to construct a "moderately powered directional source of continuous adjustable high frequency acoustical shock waves". It says "caution must be used as exposure to most people causes pain, headache, nausea and extreme irritability." It further cautions that pointing it at the head or ears could result in ear damage. There are other plans to create ultrasonic pain generators and pest control devices. I've read elsewhere how to make weapons from microwave ovens that would be effective through the walls of buildings. This isn't rocket science or classified information. It's probably ridiculously easy to make such weapons. Anyone could be responsible for the attacks on our embassies. It could easily be someone like Antifa.

  139. @Aristotle Gluteus Maximus Or any neo Nazi group.

  140. High frequency sound and low-frequency light are two quite different things.

  141. Note: don’t believe everything you read: a 150 KW klystron tube from a microwave oven can be used to zap a computer through a thin wall. If you can keep it pointed at the same region of someone’s skin, within a yard, it can boil water below and cause an internal burn. It cannot cause any of the effects mentioned in the story.

  142. During WW2 a cousin of mine, who was in the air force ground crew, received a direct hit from the radar of an aircraft on the ground. Because of this trauma, he was in a coma for two days and later recovered. Twenty years later he died from cancer, which did not run in our family. The family always suspected that the cancer developed from this event.

  143. @Leon Keer Yes, microwave radiation causes cancer. Such transmitters were isolated in the 1970s--used for long distance phone calls in the USA. Now, they're all over the place in as cell towers and WiFi points. But missing be the mind effects. The way radar (which is a form of microwaves) works is by inducing the surface on say the aircraft to transmit back a signal. It is not simple reflection.

  144. Really? Even overpowered early RADAR systems - which were not small enough to put on planes, couldn’t have either effect. I suggest your family file a records request to find out what really hit him. The first aircraft-mounted radar was a post-war product - using microwave generators like the klystron tube at the heart of every microwave oven, and sensitive receivers unavailable in the ‘40s. Those were post-war developments and cold-war research into things like MASERS - radio-frequency LASERS, supposed to become super-weapons - that failed. If it were a microwave system powerful to put him in a coma, the post-war system would have probably generated enough heat to flash his brain to steam. Or, as UK Speculative Fiction writer Ian McDonald suggested “poodle in a microwave effect with a vengeance.” Or at least brain damage capable of permanent, severe disability, but not a cause of cancer years later.

  145. Microwaves do not contain enough energy to ionize the material they pass through. Only frequencies in the ultraviolet and above are sufficient to cause the DNA damage which leads to cancer. Which is why we wear sunscreen.

  146. Time for all to start wearing aluminum foil hats...no kidding.

  147. Any possibility that there was radar nearby that swept the compound ?

  148. Readers, these incidents occurred at diplomats' homes (where family members were affected), not at the embassies.

  149. I’m guessing the right will blame Obama for normalizing relations with Cuba but IGNORE the fact that the problems began after Trump won the election. At the same time, the far right (with the help of far left Glenn Greenwald types) will HIGHLIGHT the fact that it happened after the election as evidence that the “deep state” launched the attacks in order to implicate Russia, which would validate their allegations of Russian aggression, thereby undermining the legitimacy of the Trump administration so that Hillary Clinton can continue trafficking children or something.

  150. I have vacationed in Cuba several times. Given their economic situation, I doubt very much they have the means, or even desire, to come up with psychotronic weapons. And I couldn't understand why the Cuban government would be actively harming diplomats from the U.S. until I read this article. Russia, of course, is responsible! But why did Russia go after Canadian diplomats as well? Our relationship with Cuba has been friendly for years yet we too were attacked: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cuba-diplomats-embassy-1.4621992 Same symptoms, likely from the same cause, and there is no mention anywhere of any of the over 100 Russian diplomats in Cuba suffering the same symptoms. One of the first things Puppet Trump did following his election is undo the great strides in reviving diplomatic relations with the Cuba. On Putin's orders I guess. He erroneously comments on white farmers being murdered in South Africa, but can't even comment on. let alone condemn, having his own diplomats suffer permanent brain damage at the hands of his best buddy?

  151. @Abruptly Biff --You state, "there is no mention anywhere of any of the over 100 Russian diplomats in Cuba suffering the same symptoms. " And you're right, I can find no mention of that anywhere. Are you saying you are aware of some Russian diplomats who were also afflicted? If so, where did you get that information? Thanks.

  152. @Marjorie Sorry if I didn't word that quite right. My point was that it doesn't appear as if the Russian diplomats in Cuba have been targeted - just the U.S. and Canadians.

  153. We need microwave alarms for our diplomats and soldiers. They would sound if there is an attack. The work spaces and homes of all diplomats need these alarms. Perhaps they should also have faraday cage sleeping quarters.

  154. @Judy Suddenly the tinfoil hat crowd is not looking so funny, you know?

  155. So the cell phone plot used in the Kingman movie to destroy humanity via a cell phone signal is not a far fetched SCI-FI story. Why didn’t the article cover possible known protections, if any, against the Frey Effect? If a microwave gun is produced, will the NRA demand protection of unfettered citizenry access to it under the Second Amendment?

  156. @ClydeS Laser came about AFTER they built 'MASER' Microwave Amplification thru Stimulation Emission of Radiation...so they had microwave beams, coherent, like lasers, before they did it with visible spectrum laser. So the Microwave Beam Weapon has been around for a long time.

  157. Potential protection from any microwave attack would be to be inside a metal cage. Anything that blocks your cellphone reception. But don't worry, this whole thing IS a far-fetched sci-fi story.

  158. @B. Honest - Okay. Thanks. So it’s not on the NRA’s screen yet. Maybe there’s time for the yet to be Democratic controlled congress, post 2018 midterms, to pass a massive MASER ban.

  159. good god this is not a feel good story, put the news in the top..I don't want to wade through some garbage to get what the report is about..??why, nyt, why??

  160. Was the U.S. Navy not considering at one time a massive microwave array to be buried across the length and breadth of Michigan's Upper Peninsula? Supposedly, the array would secure and improve communications with the Navy's submarine fleet and be impenetrable to EMP in time of war. I don't believe the array was ever built. In addition to the vociferous environmental objections, most of the population in the U.P. were against it, but then most of them were against the Mackinac Bridge. So, go figure...

  161. It wasn't microwaves, it was extremely low frequency (ELF) that can penetrate seawater, which makes it useful in communication with submarines. l

  162. @gricheso Thanks, you're right. Do you know if it was ever built?

  163. The video openly calls this weapon strategy "Active Denial". So there's no mystery about what it is, there's just active denial about its usage. And the video clearly shows planned use against demonstrators in protests. I interpret the video as a threat, produced to scare demonstrators into not going to protests. This is the kind of threat made during protests against the Vietnam War. "We're gonna use mace and pepper spray and even live bullets!" The administration knows the people are against its policies and are likely to be marching in the streets even more than we already have so they are trying to scare off at least some of them.

  164. The article speculates on Cuban or Russian involvement when it appears to me these particular incidents have Chinese written all over them. China is a major economic player in Cuba and, of course, the 2nd incident occurred in China itself.

  165. Agreed. A Russian operation might have freer access within Cuba but China has tighter internal security. Far more difficult for a foreign agency to run an op within China itself. of course, this raises the question about WHY they would take that chance within their own country? Arrogance that there would be no negative political consequences or that the Americans would not figure out the cause?

  166. @Jeff- Absolutely. With Russian blessings as well.

  167. @Jeff Russian military ships have been to Cuba several times in the past, so it is not a stretch to imagine they might have had something to do with messing with our embassy.

  168. This hypothetical story is a bit irresponsible and alarmist, given its highly speculative character. It even sounds a bit wild in terms of diplomatic rationale. The most interested actors here in disrupting the opening of relations are Cuban Americans who have traditionally opposed the opening of relations and immediately moved to take advantage of the sonic issue to push for recall of diplomatic personnel and detente. But the NYT in its delirious obsession with Putin manages to bring him into the story as well. Why would Putin want US to cut relations with Cuba? This story begins to sound like the 1898 explosion of the "Maine". Remember the Maine? The conjured casus belli given by the US to declare war on Spain over Cuba. Nobody really knew what caused the explosion in the US ship docked in Havana harbor--an accident (the current theory), a Spanish act of aggression (as interpreted then), or a provocative act of some Cuban insurgents who wanted to push the US to intervene in their war of Independence against Spain. And, here we go again... this story certainly keeps feeding the fire and the bellicose animus against Cuba--even if its conspiracy subtext is directed at the Soviet Union. The Chinese, or was it the Koreans, if I remember, recently underwent another of these sonic attacks according to this paper. How do they fit into this conspiracy theory? This is very close to irresponsible reporting.

  169. I would imagine they changed the name of the effect to a technical name as it would not be taken seriously if people were "just referring to 'Freyed Nerves'. " Most people's nerves are frayed enough, let alone subjected to the high degree of random microwave background from our communications, radar systems and microwave ovens if damaged or poorly constructed. What is the possibility of the Embassy just being in a poor location with Comms beams nearby being reflected from other buildings, and unregulated 'pirate' systems working alongside of more regulated service. It may be happenstance that the concentration was such to be damaging at that location. stranger things have been known to happen. But at the same time, it is Very Interesting to read just How Much we already know, and 'have known for decades', just how much microwaves can be used for planting suggestions and attempts at mind control: If you can Really MAKE voices happen in someone's head, you can be their devil and plain control them by driving them insane, literally with both brain damage and negative, damaging suggestion, attacks at self-image etc. How many other people, nations, and actors, good and bad, are using this tech, is it part of Advertising? How does this match to music and microwave transmission? I used to get a single radio station in a single place in school, and friends could hear it, that was just FM, but our temporal lobes pick up microwave? This is actually big news with huge implications.

  170. I've been trying to expose the American use of these weapons for thirty one years, and I'm damn glad to see this article. Now, ask the doctor's about receivers.

  171. @Shakinspear: Please say more about receivers, shakinspear. You know more about these weapons than most of us.

  172. The US needs a contract with Reynolds Aluminum for foil helmets for White House and State Department personnel.

  173. @Moxnix67 I've seen aluminum hats on ebay. They might even still make aluminum hardhats.

  174. Maybe all those folks wearing tin foil liners in their hats are on to something?

  175. What is the purpose of beaming microwaves into their heads?

  176. Gee, judging from this article, the microwave explanation seems extremely probable. The phantom sound effects are a clear indicator. How could the initial report missed this? Because the CIA is doing the same thing? Or are they just that dumb?

  177. The Times should have disclosed to its readers that Beatrice Golomb is a cardiologist with an undergraduate degree in physics, not a specialist in neurology. Additionally, her husband, neuroscientist Terry Sejnowski, is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neural Computation, which UCSD conveniently omitted from its press release.

  178. @Kay, plus the annual neuroscience meeting is coming up, where neuroscientists position themselves for funding.

  179. But I thought Cuba was a great nation that just needed American trade to become our best buds again? Another foreign policy failure by Obama

  180. Well done, Jon, it takes a lot of skill to misread the article so you can attack the best American president in 40 years. The piece makes very clear that suspicions are not directed at Cuba; they’re directed at Russia. You know, the country that’s kept the president you voted for on their payroll for the last 30 years. But of course even when they show you the documents proving that, you’ll say their fake. Just another conspiracy. Isn’t it interesting that your president imposed sanctions on Cuba, and fought all attempts to sanction Russia? What more do you need to know? But never mind, Hillary did it.

  181. @Jon - Cuba wasn't behind it. Your buddies the Russians were.

  182. Maybe those guys in the subway with the aluminum foil hats are not so crazy after all.

  183. @DK Though, if the microwave hypothesis is correct, their heads might burst into flames!

  184. @DK I feel so bad now for the victims of these attacks who have been uploading their testimonials to youtube, claiming of "organized stalking" and that they were being attacked with "non lethal weapons" People like Aaron Alexis and Myron May, though their actions were unforgivable, they should have been taken more seriously. It really is a brave new world.

  185. @DK I've never seen anyone on the subway wearing tinfoil hats. But in red states, not coincidentally on multiple levels, it's quite the thing. (PS: it's a joke) I feel sorry for the people who've been subjected to this. The article mentioned permanent effects. That's horrific.

  186. So maybe the guys with the aluminum hats were not so crazy after all?

  187. @Ken I was waiting for a post like yours, and I'm glad to see it. If microwave radiation is responsible for the problems these people are having, then metal (or TINFOIL!!) hats would offer some protection.

  188. Is there equipment available to detect the presence of high-powered, sophisticated microwave transmissions?

  189. @ClydeMallory Years ago, Radio Shack stopped selling microwave leakage detectors that would show this stuff.

  190. Most microwave oven dealers can supply a meter capable for detecting even the lowest-power microwave “leaks” for about $30. Another reason to doubt thus “hypothetical” answer to a problem most likely caused by what modern medicine calls “hysteria”.

  191. Work involving microwave technology for defensive/offensive applications is not a recent development in our own military. I know this for a fact, because I worked on such concepts myself, more than 30 years ago. My group was focused on using microwaves as a means to temporarily stun enemies who might be, for example, holding American hostages. None of this is surprising - with the possible exception of seeing how rarely it’s actually been used.

  192. Did it ever work? No!

  193. @retired physicist I'm not a physicisit, but like many ordinary people I have long known that microwaves can be unhealthy, and that intermittent attempts have been made to weaponize them by the US and others. When I first read news reports about the embassy incidents, microwaves were the first thing that came to mind; I assumed that this possibility was being examined, and more definite news would soon surface. Why on earth did it take so long? Did journalists self-censor, or were they muzzled officially, or do we simply have newshounds who only know of microwaves as kitchen devices to reheat their coffee?

  194. Why does the Times report this science fiction drivel? Microwave weapons cause heat effects, as we already have tested on the microwave crowd control systems that were tested for afghanistan and Iraq for crowd control but were never deployed. They dont penetrate walls or any solid structure. Sonic cannons are usually very large and suffer from the same limitations. The most likely cause of these mysterious ilnesses is mass hysteria. There are no fantastic secret weapons that violate simple physics, they fall under the same category as the Nazi death rays and foo fighters.

  195. @Ed Well, it's makes good, sensational copy anyway.

  196. I'm thanking everybody in the comments who have made this sane and rational response to what you quite rightly call "science fiction drivel" Three comments so far.

  197. If this isn’t more evidence that Trump is the Manchurian candidate and that we have some very high people in our congress secretly working with Putin then I just don’t know what to say. When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

  198. Thank you for in depth reporting NYT. Fascinating story

  199. @Arthur Mullen Actually, the Japanese worked to develop microwave weapons during WW2- with the idea of turning them into death rays against American troops to "cook them alive from within" (quoting WW2 Japanese documents). The Japanese never got the idea to work - as the basic physics of microwaves did not permit narrowing as a beam capable of machine-gun like mass killing.

  200. It seems appropriate that the US government will now have to issue tin foil hats. I look forward to seeing a cabinet meeting with all those present, properly fitted out. The president, course, will have to keep his head bare so he can continue to receive his daily agenda.

  201. It is highly unlikely that these symptoms are caused by mass hysteria. The microwave hypothesis is the best explanation that has been advanced thus far.

  202. Putin once again acts the Bond villain. Soon he'll be strapping lasers to heads of dolphins and dropping dames into volcanos.

  203. @Peter Stern Well, the US Navy was doing some strange dolphin training out at Pt Loma in San Diego. No dames in volcanoes, tho'

  204. who had more to gain from these wave attacks than those who NEVER want the U.S. and Cuba to become working partners or allies? we were well on our way to normalizing relations w/ Cuba and this episode blocked that pathway.

  205. The Soviet Union's Woodpecker radio signal, that really did sound like woodpecker, used to interfere with shortwave stations and was a major nuisance to ham radio operators. I am not sure what it was designed to do. Each knock could have contained encrypted information or act as a marker-barrier against anyone wanting using those particular radio frequencies. Knock, knock ... does anyone know for sure?

  206. This is an excellent article with detailed information. So putting the content aside, I just note that the first picture in the article show no less than 5 US Marines defending the Embassy with their backs to the public. How disgraceful.

  207. My favorite Russian trick was to put a listening device into a US Eagle mounted on a picture board they gave to the US Embassy in Moscow. I wonder what Putin has on our president?

  208. I have long suspected that the "attack" in Havana was somehow traceable to the Russians - it has all the earmarks of a KGB tactic. Whether or not the Cubans were involved is questionable, given the inevitable fissure the incident created between our nations at a time when it would have been fiscally advantageous for American/Cuban relationships to flourish. But for the Russians, it was an ideal time to divide us, especially with Trump entering the White House, eager to establish a close relationship with Putin, and itching to destroy Obama's legacy in every conceivable way.

  209. I'm sorry, I'm not following why Russia would wish to sow disharmony between Cuba and the USA. Though yes, kind of staggering to see the NY Times admitting to such weapons. Now, I can think of parties that would want to sow discord between the USA-Russia-China. Nothing originating in Cuba though.

  210. The DOD video shows a military weapon system deployed in a civilian situation - not for a SWAT application such as disabling a hostage taker behind plate glass, but for "crowd control." (To disperse protesters, simply target the leader, then any who remain.) Tear gas, fire hoses and dogs, say hello to your new best friend.

  211. We were in the process of planning a trip to Cuba this autumn. Now I have second thoughts.

  212. There would be no reason to target a tourist.

  213. @RLW Why? Noone has been targeting except for diplomatic staff. State just downgraded it's warning level on travel to Cuba to match that of Germany, Costa Rica, etc. It's a safe place for a tourist outside of accidents and theft/scams.

  214. @RLW That would be a shame to not go as a tourist. Its a very unique experience -- the Cuban people are gracious, the history and culture are fascinating AND its a beautiful, beautiful island. Having been 4 x's since 2004, I'm ready to return. It feels safer as an ordinary American there than here in the U.S. -- no random gun violence and generally very low crime rate (thanks to a controlling dictatorship). Do go!

  215. All electromagnetic radiation has the characteristic of being detectable and record-able. I would assume that sensors are being developed and deployed at some of these locations.

  216. @Mark D -- You'd hope, wouldn't you?

  217. @Mark D of course it would be hard if not impossible to find out who was driving the van and the government that paid for the attack.

  218. @Mark D - Wonder if a modern day version of the tinfoil hat would be any defense.

  219. This technology has been worked on for years and tested non-consensually on the public. Despite a gag order, several Cuban embassy victims and civilians attacked prior to the embassy exposure, have reached out to me. They complained of all the same symptoms we’ve been seeing in the public in the US that we suspect are being subjected to experimentation. I stated from the beginning this would NOT turn out to be sonic weapons

  220. Suspicion must fall upon Russia: Russia did turn to non-nuclear weapon research. Russia could not avoid blame if its new non-nuclear arms were deployed in Moscow, so it deployed in Cuba, where, coincidentally, it could disrupt budding peace ties between America and Cuba. When suspicions arose there, Russia switched deployment to China. There is proof Russia also attacked America's election system and is currently set up to cyberattack its grid, banks, etc. Russia is a classic number one suspect: Weapon availability, opportunity, intent. It looks like war building. If so, we can't have a Putin stooge as commander in chief.

  221. @jr. Republicans did not want us to reconcile with Cuba either. The Republicans have a lot of ties with Russia these days.

  222. @jr - I suspect China of malevolence independent of Russia, considering its agenda to overtake the US and the progress it has made in a few decades.

  223. It would appear that the science uncovered by Mr. Frey is unambiguous and uncontested. Moreover, the science behind microwaves is simple, not a mystery. The hard science, Physics, missing from discussions like this one allow the technology to acquire an aura of mystery and sorcery that doesn't exist. Detection and countermeasures would be straightforward and not particularly expensive, although one can be sure that every discussion of that aspect is highly classified. But, in fact any physicist with a BS or an EE in communications could make a simple, and effective guess both at simple protection schemes and detectors to indicate the presence of microwave beams. Microwaves can't get through continuous sheets of metal or metal screen. The metal mesh in our stucco house plus a galvanized metal roof rule out the use of cell phones inside. Right next to some windows reception is barely adequate because the window screens are fiberglass and not metal. In the front yard we get maximum reception. Power levels are in the same range as next to a transmitting cell phone. Imagine the trivial ease of detecting the output of a cell phone when standing a few inches away, not miles away as for cell towers. Implementation of protection and detection are simple. Possibly similar to the importance of having radiation detectors in areas where radiation weapons are suspected. But it must be implemented -- at a cost. [A physics PhD.]

  224. @dpaqcluck "It would appear that the science uncovered by Mr. Frey is unambiguous and uncontested. " In March, there was no mention of the possibility. Now it is "unambiguos and uncontested." Its propaganda.

  225. @dpaqcluck - Well said. Back when this was happening a couple of years ago I was surprised that some of the relatively simple ways of blocking EM radiation weren't already included in any "interior decorating" processes and kept up in any subsequent maintenance checks in our embassies. Microwaves, as you pointed out, are not difficult to handle with meshes or grills for reflection. Even if you couldn't create a sufficiently enclosed Fermi cage for full effect, you could make it very difficult to hit targets with a directed signal inside the structure. [not yet a Physics PhD, but working on it]

  226. @dpaqcluck This is exactly what I was thinking. If our offices in hostile countries were enclosed in Faraday cages, no microwaves would come in and no antenna based communications would get out. It would be expensive and annoying, but it would do the job.

  227. One of the State Department's original charges was that their employees had heard strange "chirping sounds." The Cubans offered to cooperate in an investigation, but the State Department refused. So the Cubans did their own investigation, which included recording sounds around the embassy. According to Science magazine, the strange "chirping sounds" were Jamaican crickets. I knew enough about electronics and medicine to know how little I know. I read the JAMA article and letters, and some of the other articles in scientific journals. Something is accepted in science when experts agree. The experts don't agree that State Department employees are suffering an illness caused by anything the Cubans did deliberately. The State Department hasn't proven its case. There are simpler explanations. But governments in general, and Republicans in particular, have often used pseudoscience for political ends, and this would give Trump an easy excuse to destroy another of Obama's accomplishments. Which is more likely -- (1) that the Cubans create and deploy a mysterous weapon that baffles scientists, with no apparent benefit to them, that damages their diplomatic situation, or (2) that Trump would lie?

  228. @Norman If I were to aim such a weapon at the enemy, one that made chirping noises, I would aim it at the enemy at the precise same time as when the birds and crickets were chirping. (Not that I would. Just saying.)

  229. Another voice of reason. Thank you!

  230. The U.S. Government has been involved in practicing with electronic weapons on civilians for many decades now. Multinational corporations are heavily involved, primarily because these experiments have a global scope. I suspect that the targeting of U.S. embassy personnel in Cuba, China and Uzbekestan was probably carried out by multinational corporations, which have no loyalties to any particular government. Thank you for this detailed and accurate preliminary report, to include the discussion centering on V2K (DoD's appellation, since censored, for voice-to-skull technologies). Now please focus on the complaints of the many, many hundreds of U.S. citizens who claim to be targets of this type of weapons "testing." There is no mystery to this, despite Mr. Frey's concluding surmisal.

  231. In the conspiracy theory department, that sounds like Anatoly woke up in Moscow this morning and was told to blame it on multinational corporation’s to take the blame off Russia.

  232. "I've got Putin."

  233. People have been complaining of "gang stalking" for years but their cries have been ignored or they were written off as delusional... I feel so bad for all the people who have been suffering from these attacks and ignored, those who leave their testimonials on youtube before killing themselves... what a terrible, tragic way to die.

  234. Oh no. Not the darlings of Latin America. Castro’s government is a by product of the KGB. Most were trained in Russia. They are very adept at controlling their people through violence and terror. They just have good PR in the US. This is a horrible crime and should be a reason to close our embassy.

  235. Perhaps someone is beaming microwaves at our President, which would explain his ever more bizarre behavior.

  236. The use of microwaves for this purpose was known long before Frey; in Herge's 1954's The Caculus Affair it was a central plot point; variations of this were repeated in some of his later books as well. Like much destructive technology, it was first developed by the Nazi's (again, according to The Caculus Affair, which cites an actual book that now sells for thousands of dollars on Ebay).

  237. “...microwave arms that could invisibly beam...even spoken words into people’s heads” Apparently the Russians have already mastered this technology....perhaps it should be called “The Hannity Effect.”

  238. Aha! Now the truth will come out! That Great Enemy of the People, the Democratic Party, has been aiming microwaves at the Oval Office. Sad...

  239. This is a surprise? Is our counter/ELINT really that bad?

  240. Read the ebook, "I'm In OZ" if you want to be substantiated.

  241. These crippling attacks on Americans cannot go unpunished. Payback must be as well planned as these attacks, more so.

  242. I think the upshot of this article is our government is treating us like mushrooms.They disclose things like this in dribs and drabs and only when it suits their purpose. How many of us knew the Russians cancelled $30 billion in Cuban debt in 2014? How may of us knew "Moscow and Havana grew so close that in late 2016, the two nations signed a sweeping pact on defense and technology cooperation."? Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention. I don't watch television news, but I do read both the NY Times and the Washington Post. I would think such stories would have been headline news. Viewed in today's political climate, the rapprochement between Cuba and Russia is especially disturbing. What's next? Nuclear missiles 90 miles off the Florida coast?

  243. “The microwave idea teems with unanswered questions. Who fired the beams? The Russian government? The Cuban government? A rogue Cuban faction sympathetic to Moscow? And, if so, where did the attackers get the unconventional arms?” Um, what about China? Does everything have to be Russia now?

  244. Many schizophreniacs say they hear voices inside their heads, and say extraterrestrial creatures or foreign agencies are beaming those in. Perhaps they have been correct all along? Has anybody tested foil hats as a treatment for schizophrenia?