Experts in microwave technology believe the so-called Havana Syndrome attacks on as many as 200 diplomats and spies around the world in the past five years are fake, a hoax, or as one scientist labeled it, “science fiction”.
The findings from a study on Havana Syndrome microwave attacks are inconclusive, according to an investigation commissioned by the U.S. State Department. Scientists at the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and experts on microwaves collaborated on the investigation. The findings were published in December 2020.
A microwave weapon is a type of direct energy weapon that aims at a target with highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser or microwaves.
“In many ways, what we are saying is the U.S. government needs to take this on in a more deliberate and comprehensive manner. What is needed is an all-of-government effort to not just study what happened but to anticipate what the future holds,” said panel chair David Relman infectious disease expert at Stanford University.
At least 200 government workers, mostly from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. State Department, have reported suspected Havana Syndrome symptoms, ruining U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba for much of the Trump administration.
Here are three things to know why scientists believe Havana Syndrome microwave attacks are fake.
Experts in microwaves highly critical of report conclusions
The NAS report does not make a coherent argument why microwaves should be involved, according to University of Pennsylvania bioengineer Kenneth Foster.
The Frey effect phenomenon (directed radio frequency attack), where beams of pulsed microwaves aimed at a person’s ears could produce clicking noises that only the targeted person can hear, requires very high-power levels to produce barely audible sounds and it is not known to cause injuries.
“Maybe someone went to the trouble to truck in a large microwave transmitter to cause the employees to hear ‘clicks’, but there are simpler ways to harass people than that,” said Foster.
Cuba attacks took place in crowded open spaces
Neuroscientist Mitchell Joseph Valdes Sosa refuted the microwave attack theory and pointed out that early injuries among few people could have spread through mass psychology to a wider diplomatic community.
Valdes claimed that it is unlikely that such a small number of people could be affected in Cuba since the Cuban hotels and neighborhoods where the claimed microwave attacks took place are crowded and in open spaces.
Valdes said researchers were not allowed to consult with the Cubans when carrying out the research.
Wide variance of symptoms
The symptoms that were reported in 2017 by Canadian diplomats and their families varied among individuals, making it difficult to establish the exact cause.
While some experienced high-pitched or sharp sounds that left them nauseated, others reported bloody noses and headaches.
The incidents were not well understood and sparked many theories as to what may have caused them. Some indicated that it was a reaction to crickets, poison, ultrasound, or microwaves. Others claimed it was a suspicious attack of Russian spies.
For several years, U. S. senior government officials dismissed the complaints, deeming them to be symptoms of people under stress.
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