'Microwave Weapons' Likely Source of Mystery Ailment Among U.S. Diplomats in Cuba, Say Scientists

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Douglas H. Smith, lead author of last March's report for The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that detailed the mysterious ailment that has affected U.S. embassy staff in Cuba since 2016, recently told The New York Times that microwaves were now the leading suspect to explain the affliction.

“Everybody was relatively skeptical at first,” Smith said, “and everyone now agrees there’s something there.”

Weaponized microwave radiation could explain the reports of sudden waves of nausea, dizziness, and headaches that followed strange sounds that the embassy employees compared to loud crickets or screeching metal--something experts are attributing to what is known as the Frey effect, named for American scientist Allan H. Frey. Frey found that microwaves can 'trick' the brain into perceiving seemingly ordinary sounds, which might be what caused the noises heard by victims.

Frey, now 83, speculated that perhaps a conspiracy between allied Russian and Cuban operatives could be to blame. He has served as a contractor and a consultant to multiple federal agencies, and considered the possibility that such an attack might be carried out by elements of the two long-allied nations who would want to undermine developing ties between Cuba and the United States.

“It’s a possibility,” Frey said. “In dictatorships, you often have factions that think nothing of going against the general policy if it suits their needs. I think that’s a perfectly viable explanation.”

If worsening relations between the United States and Cuba is the goal, then it may well be working.

The Trump administration has insisted that Cuba must know who is responsible, despite the state's denial of any involvement--citing Cuba's small size and the state of its security.

"We strongly remind the Cuban government of its responsibility under the Vienna Convention to protect our diplomats," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement June 28th.

The majority of U.S. personnel have been withdrawn from the embassy in Havana, and an equal  percentage of Cuban diplomats have been expelled from Washington. All visa services for Cubans have also been cancelled as a result.

Tobias WaylandComment