• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

'Havana Syndrome': Diplomatic Staff Malaise In Cuba & China—A Sonic Or Microwave Weapon?

That time when it really was a microwave weapon.


There was one thing, though, that hung in the back of Schumaker’s mind. A year before his arrival, State Department officials had told embassy staffers and their families that the Soviet Union had been blasting some kind of microwave beam at the embassy for up to 14 hours per day. But American higher-ups said there was little reason for concern. Issuing a “Fact Sheet,” the State Department said that this microwave beam — later dubbed the “Moscow Signal” — was “no cause for concern,” as “no causal relationship had been established between these microwave transmissions and any health problems.”
It was only years later, when Schumaker received a surprise leukemia diagnosis — and after multiple American ambassadors had already died from cancer, with the another diagnosed with a “severe blood disorder” — that Schumaker realized that microwave radiation, and the U.S.’s lackadaisical response, was far more disastrous, and even fatal, than he ever thought. And in recent months, that realization only deepened, for a pair of reasons.
This reminds me of an episode in the early 1980s involving a Russian-owned mansion in Glen Cove on Long Island. There were reports that the building was being used as a surveillance hub to spy on American operations, but because it was a residence of the Soviet delegation to the U.N., it enjoyed diplomatic immunity and was therefore not subject to direct investigation. The mayor and most of the city council, already upset over "lost" property taxes, retaliated - and caused a minor international incident - by denying the residents passes to the city's beach, tennis, and golf facilities.

I knew a fellow who lived near the place. He told me he was trying to keep the controversy going by publicizing the fact that the nearby high school was likely being bombarded by microwaves when the spy info was being beamed to Moscow. ("Won't somebody think of the children?") As far as I know, he was unsuccessful.
Some comments from Marginal Revolution:

Phil S.
2024-04-01 13:03:55
As it was initially reported, over the years, seemed at least semi-plausible. Somehow in the last years, a certain segment of the (general US) commentariat decreed that it had been decisively debunked. I didn't quite understand (or fully endorse) the debunking, and I haven't yet read the long linked article or seen the 60 minutes segment reinforcing (rebunking?) H.S.

But, mainly on the quality of folks endorsing both sides, I was probably 60/40 for H.S. until a year ago, ~40/60 for (i.e. flipped) after some evidence/arguments/reports against, and am tentatively back to 60/40 for, pending digesting the newest info.

Of note, even if some who reported H.S. symptoms don't really have them, have social contagion, etc., that's not a universal debunking. i.e. You can interview/closely analyze 100 purported cases, and quickly discover that 30 of them are implausible. That doesn't mean H.S. is bogus. And of course, it also doesn't mean all 70 of the remaining cases are legit, but *some* may be.

2024-04-01 13:40:06
Can someone explain why Russia only used this weapon against Americans? Why not use it in Ukraine prior to the invasion, for example?