For the past several years, the press has been told by U.S. government officials that the "Havana syndrome" was likely caused by a sonic weapon deployed by an adversary, and more recently a high-intensity microwave weapon. However, a recent report by Adam Entous in The New Yorker
suggests that during this period our government officials' working
hypothesis for the origin of Havana syndrome has actually been microwave surveillance, not a microwave weapon:
officials in the Trump and Biden Administrations suspect that the
Russians are responsible for the syndrome. Their working hypothesis is
that operatives working for the G.R.U., the Russian
military-intelligence service, have been aiming microwave-radiation
devices at U.S. officials, possibly to steal data from their computers
or smartphones, which inflicted serious harm on the people they
targeted. But American intelligence analysts and operatives have so far
been unable to find concrete evidence that would allow them to declare
that either microwave radiation or the Russians were to blame."
Entous is correct, then why have our government officials encouraged
the press (and the National Academy of Sciences) to report microwave
weaponry instead of microwave surveillance as the likely explanation for
the Havana syndrome?
microwave surveillance technology is the source of exposure for the
syndrome, and if only a minority of individuals are susceptible to
developing serious symptoms associated with exposure to low-to-moderate
intensity microwave radiation (i.e. "microwave syndrome" or electrohypersensitivity), then the extent of surveillance could be widespread.
In an interview
with an Associated Press reporter in December 2017, I hypothesized that
the syndrome is due to exposure to low-to-moderate intensity microwave
radiation used for surveillance rather than a high-intensity microwave
makes me think the victims may have developed electromagnetic
hypersensitivity (EHS) from exposure to electromagnetic fields in the
embassy,' Joel Moskowitz, a community health professor at the University
of California, Berkeley, told Daily Mail Online.
happened during the Cold War to personnel stationed in the US embassy
in Moscow when the Soviets were bombarding the embassy with microwaves
to monitor oral communications in the ambassador's office.'"
For more information about EHS see the following open access paper written by Dr. Dominique Belpomme and his 30 co-authors:
et al. The Critical Importance of Molecular Biomarkers and Imaging in
the Study of Electrohypersensitivity. A Scientific Consensus
International Report. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(14):7321. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22147321
When will our government fund the research needed to diagnose and treat electrohypersensitivity (EHS)?
Gordon Carera, BBC News, Sep 8, 2021
scientists, intelligence agents and government officials have all been
trying to find out what causes "Havana syndrome" - a mysterious illness
that has struck American diplomats and spies. Some call it an act of
war, others wonder if it is some new and secret form of surveillance -
and some people believe it could even be all in the mind. So who or what
often started with a sound, one that people struggled to describe.
"Buzzing", "grinding metal", "piercing squeals", was the best they could
woman described a low hum and intense pressure in her skull; another
felt a pulse of pain. Those who did not hear a sound, felt heat or
pressure. But for those who heard the sound, covering their ears made no
difference. Some of the people who experienced the syndrome were left
with dizziness and fatigue for months.
Havana syndrome first emerged in Cuba in
2016. The first cases were CIA officers, which meant they were kept
secret. But, eventually, word got out and anxiety spread. Twenty-six
personnel and family members would report a wide variety of symptoms.
There were whispers that some colleagues thought sufferers were crazy
and it was "all in the mind".
years on, reports now number in the hundreds and, the BBC has been
told, span every continent, leaving a real impact on the US's ability to
the truth has now become a top US national security priority - one that
an official has described as the most difficult intelligence challenge
they have ever faced.
evidence has been elusive, making the syndrome a battleground for
competing theories. Some see it as a psychological illness, others a
secret weapon. But a growing trail of evidence has focused on microwaves
as the most likely culprit.
In 2015, diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba were restored after decades of hostility. But within two years, Havana syndrome almost shut the embassy down, as staff were withdrawn because of concerns for their welfare.
there was speculation that the Cuban government - or a hard-line
faction opposed to improving relations - might be responsible, having
kind of sonic weapon. Cuba's security services, after all, had been
nervous about an influx of US personnel and kept a tight grip on the
That theory would fade as cases spread around the world.
But recently, another possibility has come
into the frame - one whose roots lay in the darker recesses of the Cold
War, and a place where science, medicine, espionage and geopolitics
When James Lin, a professor at the University of Illinois, read the first reports about the mysterious sounds in
Havana, he immediately suspected that microwaves were responsible. His
belief was based not just on theoretical research, but first-hand
experience. Decades earlier, he had heard the sounds himself.
its emergence around World War Two, there had been reports of people
being able to hear something when a nearby radar was switched on and
began sending microwaves into the sky. This was even though there was no
external noise. In 1961, a paper by Dr Allen Frey argued the sounds
were caused by microwaves interacting with the nervous system, leading
to the term the "Frey Effect". But the exact causes - and implications -
the 1970s, Prof Lin set to work conducting his experiments at the
University of Washington. He sat on a wooden chair in a small room lined
with absorbent materials, an antenna
aimed at the back of his head. In his hand he held a light switch.
Outside, a colleague sent pulses of microwaves through the antenna at
random intervals. If Prof Lin heard a sound, he pressed the switch.
single pulse sounded like a zip or a clicking finger. A series of
pulses like a bird chirping. They were produced in his head rather than
as sound waves coming from outside. Prof Lin believed the energy
was absorbed by the soft brain tissue and converted to a pressure wave
moving inside the head, which was interpreted by the brain as sound.
This occurred when high-power microwaves were delivered as pulses rather
than in the low-power continuous form you get from a modern microwave
oven or other devices.
Prof Lin recalls that he was careful not to dial it up too high. "I did not want to have my brain damaged," he told the BBC.
1978, he found he was not alone in his interest, and received an
unusual invitation to discuss his latest paper from a group of
scientists who had been carrying out their own experiments.
the Cold War, science was the focus of intense super-power rivalry.
Even areas like mind control were explored, amid fears of the other side
getting an edge - and this included microwaves.
Prof Lin was shown the Soviet approach at a centre of scientific research in
the town of Pushchino, near Moscow. "They had a very elaborate, very
well-equipped laboratory," Prof Lin recalls. But their experiment was
cruder than his. The subject would sit in a drum of salty seawater with
their head sticking out. Then microwaves would be fired at their brain.
The scientists thought the microwaves interacted with the nervous system
and wanted to question Prof Lin on his alternative view.
cut both ways, and US spies kept close track on Soviet research. A 1976
report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency, unearthed by the BBC,
says it could find no proof of Communist-bloc microwave weapons, but
says it had learnt of experiments where microwaves were pulsed at the
throat of frogs until their hearts stopped.
report also reveals that the US was concerned Soviet microwaves could
be used to impair brain function or induce sounds for psychological
effect. "Their internal sound perception research has great potential
for development into a system for disorienting or disrupting the
behaviour patterns of military or diplomatic personnel."
interest was more than just defensive. James Lin would occasionally
glimpse references to secret US work on weapons in the same field.
while Prof Lin was in Pushchino, another group of Americans not far
away were worried that they were being zapped by microwaves - and that
their own government had covered it up.
nearly a quarter of a century, the 10-storey US embassy in Moscow was
bathed by a wide, invisible beam of low-level microwaves. It became
known as "the Moscow signal". But for many years, most of those working inside knew nothing.
beam came from an antenna on the balcony of a nearby Soviet apartment
and hit the upper floors of the embassy where the ambassador's office
and more sensitive work was carried out. It had been first spotted in
the 1950s and was later monitored from a room on the 10th floor. But its
existence was a secret tightly held from all but a few working inside.
"We were trying to figure out just what might be its purpose," explains
Jack Matlock, number two at the embassy in the mid-70s.
image caption US Embassy on Novinsky Boulevard in Moscow, circa 1964
a new ambassador, Walter Stoessel, arrived in 1974 and threatened to
resign unless everyone was told. "That caused something like panic,"
recalls Mr Matlock. Embassy staff whose children were in a basement
nursery were especially worried. But the State Department played down
Then Ambassador Stoessel, himself, fell ill - with bleeding of the eyes
as one of his symptoms. In a now declassified 1975 phone call to the
Soviet ambassador to Washington, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
linked Stoessel's illness to microwaves, admitting "we are trying to
keep the thing quiet". Stoessel died of leukaemia at the age of 66. "He
decided to play the good soldier", and not make a fuss, his daughter
told the BBC.
1976 screens were installed to protect people. But many diplomats were
angry, believing the State Department had first kept quiet, and then
resisted acknowledging any possible health impact. This was a claim
echoed decades later with Havana syndrome.
was the Moscow signal for? "I'm pretty sure that the Soviets had
intentions other than damaging us," says Matlock. They were ahead of the
US in surveillance technology and one theory was that they bounced
microwaves off windows to pick up conversations, another that they were
activating their own listening devices hidden inside the building or
capturing information through microwaves hitting US electronic devices
(known as "peek and poke"). The Soviets at one point told Matlock that
the purpose was actually to jam American equipment on the embassy roof
used to intercept Soviet communications in Moscow.
is the world of surveillance and counter-surveillance, one so secret
that even within embassies and governments only a few people know the
theory is that Havana involved a much more targeted method to carry out
some kind of surveillance with higher-power, directed microwaves. One
former UK intelligence official told the BBC that microwaves could be
used to "illuminate" electronic devices to extract signals or identify
and track them. Others speculate that a device (even perhaps an American
one) might have been poorly engineered or malfunctioned and caused a
physical reaction in some people. However, US officials tell the BBC no
device has been identified or recovered.
After a lull, cases began to spread beyond Cuba.
December 2017, Marc Polymeropolous woke suddenly in a Moscow hotel
room. A senior CIA officer, he was in town to meet Russian counterparts.
"My ears were ringing, my head was spinning. I felt like I was going to
vomit. I couldn't stand up," he told the BBC. "It was terrifying." It
was a year after the first Havana cases, but the CIA medical office told
symptoms didn't match the Cuban cases. A long battle for medical
treatment began. The severe headaches never went away and in the summer
of 2019 he was forced to retire.
Polymreopolous originally thought he had been hit by some kind of
technical surveillance tool that had been "turned up too much". But when
more cases emerged at the CIA which were all, he says, linked to people
working on Russia, he came to believe he had been targeted with a
But then came China, including at the consulate in Guangzhou in early 2018.
of those affected in China contacted Beatrice Golomb, a professor at
the University of California, San Diego, who has long researched the
health effects of microwaves, as well as other unexplained illnesses.
She told the BBC that she wrote to the State Department's medical team
in January 2018 with a detailed account of why she thought microwaves
were responsible. "This makes for interesting reading," was the
Golomb says high levels of radiation were recorded by family members of
personnel in Guangzhou using commercially available equipment. "The
needle went off the top of the available readings." But she says the
State Department told its own employees that the measurements they had
taken off their own back were classified.
host of problems plagued early investigations. There was a failure to
collect consistent data. The State Department and CIA failed to
communicate with each other, and the scepticism of their internal
medical teams caused tension.
one out of the nine cases from China was initially determined by the
State Department to match the criteria for the syndrome based on Havana
left others who experienced symptoms angry, and feeling as if they were
being accused of making it up. They began a battle for equal treatment,
which is still going on today.
frustration grew, some of those affected turned to Mark Zaid, a lawyer
who specialises in national security cases. He now acts for around two
dozen government personnel, half from the intelligence community.
is not Havana syndrome. It's a misnomer," argues Mr Zaid, whose clients
were affected in many locations. "What's been going on has been known
by the United States government probably, based on evidence that I have
seen, since the late 1960s."
2013, Mr Zaid has represented one employee of the US National Security
Agency who believed they were damaged in 1996 in a location which
Zaid questions why the US government has been so unwilling to
acknowledge a longer history. One possibility, he says, is because it
might open a Pandora's Box of incidents that have been ignored over the
years. Another is because the US, too, has developed and perhaps even deployed microwaves itself and wants to keep it secret.
country's interest in weaponising microwaves extended beyond the end of
the Cold War. Reports say from the 1990s, the US Air Force had a
project codenamed "Hello" to see if microwaves could create disturbing
sounds in people's heads, one called "Goodbye" to test their use for
crowd control, and one codenamed "Goodnight" to see if they could be
used to kill people. Reports from a decade ago suggested these had not proved successful.
But the study of the mind and what can be done to it has been receiving increased focus within the military and security world.
brain is being seen as the 21st Century battle-scape," argues James
Giordano, an adviser to the Pentagon and Professor in Neurology and
Biochemistry at Georgetown University, who was asked to look at the
initial Havana cases. "Brain sciences are global. It is not just the
province of what used to be known as the West." Ways to both augment and
damage brain function are being worked on, he told the BBC. But it is a
field with little transparency or rules.
says China and Russia have been engaged in microwave research and
raises the possibility that tools developed for industrial and
commercial uses - for instance to test the impact of microwaves on
materials - could have been repurposed. But he also wonders if disruption and spreading fear were also the aim.
kind of technology may have been around for a while - and even have
been used selectively. But that would still mean something changed in
Cuba to get it noticed.
Evanina was a senior intelligence official when the Havana cases
emerged, and stepped down as the head of the National
Counterintelligence and Security Center this year. He has little doubt
about what happened in Havana. "Was it an offensive weapon? I believe it
was," he told the BBC.
believes microwaves may have been deployed in recent military
conflicts, but points to specific circumstances to explain a shift.
90 miles off the Florida coast, has long been an ideal site to collect
"signals intelligence" by intercepting communications. During the Cold
War, it was home to a major Soviet listening station. When Vladimir
Putin visited in 2014, reports suggested it was being re-opened. China
also opened two sites in recent years, according to one source, while
the Russians sent in 30 additional intelligence officers.
from 2015, the US was back in town. With its newly opened embassy and a
beefed-up presence, the US was just beginning to establish its footing,
collecting intelligence and pushing back against Russian and Chinese
spies. "We were in a ground fight," one person recalls.
Then the sounds began.
had the most to benefit from the closing of the embassy in Havana?"
asks Mr Evanina. "If the Russian government was increasing and
promulgating their intelligence collection in Cuba, it was probably not
good for them to have the US in Cuba."
has repeatedly dismissed accusations it is involved, or has "directed
microwave weapons". "Such provocative, baseless speculation and fanciful
hypotheses can't really be considered a serious matter for comment,"
its foreign ministry has said.
there have been sceptics about the very existence of Havana syndrome.
They argue that the unique situation in Cuba supports their case.
W Baloh, a Professor of Neurology at UCLA, has long studied unexplained
health symptoms. When he saw the Havana syndrome reports, he concluded
they were a mass psychogenic condition. He compares this to the way
people feel sick when they are told they have eaten tainted food even if
there was nothing wrong with it - the reverse of the placebo effect.
"When you see mass psychogenic illness, there's usually some stressful
underlying situation," he says. "In the case of Cuba and the mass of the
embassy employees - particularly the CIA agents who first were affected
- they certainly were in a stressful situation."
his view, every-day symptoms like brain fog and dizziness are reframed -
by sufferers, media and health professionals - as the syndrome. "The
symptoms are as real as any other symptoms," he says, arguing that
individuals became hyper-aware and fearful as reports spread, especially
within a closed community. This, he believes, then became contagious
among other US officials serving abroad.
image caption United States Embassy in Havana, May 2021
remain many unexplained elements. Why did Canadian diplomats report
symptoms in Havana? Were they collateral damage from targeting nearby
Americans? And why have no UK officials reported symptoms? "The Russians
have literally tried to kill people on British soil in recent years
with radioactive materials, yet why are there no reported cases?" asks
Mark Zaid. "I would probably put on pause the statement that no-one in
the UK has experienced any symptoms," responds Bill Evanina, who says
the US is now sharing details with allies to spot cases.
instances may be unrelated. "We had a bunch of military folk in the
Middle East who claimed to have this attack - turned out they had food
poisoning," says one former official. "We need to separate the wheat
from the chaff," reckons Mark Zaid, who says members of the public, some
with mental health issues, approach him claiming to suffer from
microwave attacks. One former official reckons around half the cases
reported by US officials are possibly linked to attacks by an adversary.
Others say the real number could be even smaller.
December 2020 report by the US National Academies of Sciences was a
pivotal moment. Experts took evidence from scientists and clinicians as
well as eight victims. "It was quite dramatic," recalls Professor David
Relman of Stanford, who chaired the panel. "Some of these people
literally were in hiding, for fear of further actions against them by
whomever. There were actually precautions we had to take to ensure their
safety." The panel looked at psychological and other causes, but
concluded that directed, high energy, pulsed microwaves were most likely
responsible for some of the cases, similar to the view of James Lin,
who gave evidence.
even though the State Department sponsored the study, it still
considers the conclusion only a plausible hypothesis and officials say
they have not found further evidence to support it.
Biden administration has signalled it is taking the issue seriously.
CIA and State Department officials are given advice on how to respond to
incidents (including 'getting off the X' - meaning physically moving
from a spot if they feel they are getting hit). The State Department has
set up a task force to support staff over what are now called
"unexplained health incidents". Previous attempts to categorise cases as
to whether they met specific criteria have been abandoned. But without a
definition, it becomes harder to count.
This year, a new wave of cases arrived - including Berlin and a larger group in Vienna. In August, a trip by US Vice-President
Kamala Harris to Vietnam was delayed three hours because of a reported
case at the embassy in Hanoi. Worried diplomats are now asking questions
before taking foreign assignments with their families.
is a major distraction for us if we think that the Russians are doing
things to our intelligence officers who are travelling," says former CIA
officer Polymreopolous, who finally received the medical treatment he
wanted this year. "That's going to put a crimp in our operational
The CIA has taken over the hunt for a cause, with a veteran of the hunt for Osama bin Laden placed in charge.
Markers in the blood
accusation that another state has been harming US officials is a
consequential one. "That's an act of war," says Mr Polymeropolous. That
makes it a high bar to reach. Policymakers will demand hard evidence,
which so far, officials say, is still lacking.
Five years on, some US officials say little more is known other than when Havana
syndrome started. But others disagree. They say the evidence for
microwaves is much stronger now, if not yet conclusive. The BBC has
learnt that new evidence is arriving as data is collected and analysed
more systematically for the first time. Some of the cases this year
showed specific markers in the blood, indicating brain injury. These
markers fall away after a few days and previously too much time had
elapsed to spot them. But now that people are being tested much more
quickly after reporting symptoms, they have been seen for the first
debate remains divisive and it is possible the answer is complex. There
may be a core of real cases, while others have been folded into the
syndrome. Officials raise the possibility that the technology and the
intent might have changed over time, perhaps shifting to try and
unsettle the US. Some even worry one state may have piggy-backed on
another's activities. "We like a simple label diagnosis," argues
Professor Relman. "But sometimes it is tough to achieve. And when we
can't, we have to be very careful not to simply throw up our hands and
mystery of Havana syndrome could be its real power. The ambiguity and
fear it spreads act as a multiplier, making more and more people wonder
if they are suffering, and making it harder for spies and diplomats to
operate overseas. Even if it began as a tightly defined incident, Havana
syndrome may have developed a life of its own.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
such as celldar (cellular radar) to do room readings has been known to
the government for decades to cause serious disruption and harm to human
beings; from causing electosensitivity, spatial disorientation, audio
hallucinations and over time, cancers.
knowing this, and using these same weapons for surveillance, the US
Government wants the narrative on DEW type weapons wielded by enemies
instead of surveillance technology their own use, and on their own as
well inside the country.
gives the narrative a standard more acceptable model; bad guys vs US.
No doubt many nations use these weapons, but though as your email points
out, a few ask about, some theorize, some bandy about tidbits of info
and even push the narrative toward surveillance as a focus, the US
Government would rather NOT have questioning about their own use of these
weapons so DEW is what they’d rather push.
everyone affected by microwave weaponry will necessarily have traumatic
brain injury or the same physiological experiences. Yet with a DEW
model, it shifts away from defensive postures (room readings and the things in them), to an aggressive attack; whereas DEWs are known to use high power, many types of microwave
weapons used as surveillance use more sublime applications of energy.
if you’re wanting to deflect about your own use of radio surveillance
weapons (microwave are just one type), stay away from those scenarios
which are not easily seen as offensive aggression.
complained about use of radio weaponry for surveillance purposes many
years before Havana Syndrome ever became a “thing”. Already by the time I
was raising cane in public, the US Government knew full well what was
causing the problems. It allowed me and the truth to fall down the
rabbit hole hoping that's where it stayed.
when people began being harmed (and moreseo the PUBLIC finding out, because it's been known for decades their own were being harmed), and increasingly their own, did anything I was
experiencing personally gear down. Yet soon enough thereafter standard US
Government protocol of physical stalking, using “homeland security
civilian assets” - we have a type of stasi rampant in this country no
one wants to deal with either - and black bag jobbing become paramount, once
the “horse was out of the barn” and “the cat is out of the bag” meant
just ignoring and hoping for the best telling whomever folks are crazy
and hearing things wasn't really gonna work any longer.
You can read about all of that in the zine listed following this rant.
course even today the media is still talking about “mysterious weapons”
supposedly the government still isn't sure of; this reeks as pure
That many years
have passed and its gone from Congressional task forces to the
military/intel taking the reins (if this wasn't so incredibly serious
that would be comical) and nothing coming of any of it and on top I take
it these government employees are having to sue the US Government to
get relief….when all of us knows they know to begin with and have since
way before “havanna” since they use the stuff themselves….
a coverup and conspiracy of crime is but a pure type of evil. Perhaps they will come
up with something when they are forced to, until then it appears to me
they’d rather it all just go away, disappear. Even if they are forced to
one day come up with some credible consensus to pass along to the media
as a narrative above mere speculation, I will guarantee you their own
use of the same stuff will not be forthcoming.
My experiences with radio weaponry being used against me inside the United States: