Mysterious Health Attacks Against U.S. & Canadian Diplomatic Embassy Staff-Cuba & China- An Open Source Intelligence Study by De Faakto


De Faakto Intelligence Research Observatory

Mysterious Health Attacks Against U.S. & Canadian Diplomatic Embassy Staff-Cuba & China- An Open Source Intelligence Study

Mysterious Health Attacks-Suspected Microwave Weapons Used Against United States & Canadian Diplomats & Embassy Staff-in Cuba & China


Background & Analysis
Diplomatic Embassy staff from the United States and Canada, stationed in Cuba, have reported a mysterious onset of physical symptoms; pain, ringing in ears, feeling of pressure, nausea, and dizziness later manifesting with cognitive deficits. Medical experts believe the embassy staff received neurological damage and head injuries from the attacks. (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018) Victims perceived an energy “beam” following them around their homes or hotels, and that the energy beam ceased when they opened the front door. Similar symptoms & sensations have been experienced by U.S. Diplomatic staff in China. (Miami Herald, 2018) Investigations indicate the most likely scenarios are attacks using weaponized microwaves or through the side effects caused by technical surveillance Ultrasound.


Hypothesis-Attack Methodologies

Microwave-Pulsed Radio Frequency
• Health effects reported by US and Canadian diplomats (and family members) in Cuba and China, and the circumstances surrounding the episodes, are consistent with effects of RF/MW (Radio Frequency/Microwave)
• Reports of perceived sounds fit known characteristics reported for the Frey effect (RF hearing, microwave hearing)
• Sounds were heard by some, but not other diplomats during episodes, sounds differed in character from person to person, sounds included chirping, ringing and grinding
• Sounds were heard predominantly at night
• Sounds were localized with “laser like” specificity in some of the cases, and within that localization, seemed to follow people (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)
• Prominence of auditory symptoms, including hearing loss, tinnitus, and ear pain in diplomat reports, typify reported injury from pulsed RF/MW (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)
• Douglas H. Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury (New York Times, 2018)

• These injuries are probably the side effects of intrusive surveillance (The Conversation, 2018)
• Ultrasound is used in various tools including motion sensors
• Ultrasound has also been used to detect people’s mouth movements in noisy locations, or where subjects are whispering (or miming speech)
• Ultrasound & motion sensors are useful in active surveillance, particularly when subjects are trying to avoid being overheard
• Although not deliberate, this could lead to cavitation damage
• An ultrasonic loudspeaker designed to operate on a subject who is two metres away would be thousands of times more powerful at two centimetres
• Just walking past, or sitting near, the active emitter for a short time could cause damage
• Multiple ultrasound emitters used for surveillance would be worse, If a subject moved their head into just the right location, waves from different emitters could combine at the eardrum, causing much higher energies
• Sitting in the wrong position for too long could then cause hearing damage without the subjects noticing
• Given the reported symptoms, an audio related cause is likely – and if so, it is probably ultrasonic
• The nature of ultrasound suggests that these cases are probably the result of surveillance rather than a deliberate “sonic attack” (The Conversation, 2018)

Why it is not likely ultrasonic
• Investigators have torn apart buildings where diplomatic employees encountered the sounds but found no acoustic devices, leading law enforcement to believe that the injuries were the result of microwaves beamed from a nearby location and that the “sounds” were merely a means of masking the microwave attacks (CNN, 2018)

• Ultrasound loses power far more quickly with distance than audible sounds do. A single ultrasonic emitter (loudspeaker) would struggle to generate enough power to affect someone halfway across a typical room. (The Conversation, 2018)

• Ultrasound is also highly directional. Precise alignment in millimetres would be needed to steer an ultrasonic “beam” to hit someone from across a room. Every time they move, each emitter would have to carefully steer its beams accordingly. (The Conversation, 2018)

• Sounds were localized with “laser like” specificity in some cases, supposedly defying known physics, this may defy the physics of sound, but not the physics of Radiofrequency Microwaves (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

Suspected Motivation

• Allan H. Frey, an American scientist, discovered that microwaves can trick the brain into perceiving ordinary sounds. This discovery is named the “Frey Effect” Mr. Frey speculates, Cubans aligned with Russia, the nation’s long-time ally, might have launched microwave strikes in attempts to undermine developing ties between Cuba and the United States (New York Times, 2018)

• “It’s a possibility,” Mr. 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.” (New York Times, 2018)

Russia is one of the few countries that have used microwave technology before, and a theory among investigators is that some rogue Cuban intelligence officials worked with Russia because they were not happy with the détente between United States and Cuba (CNN, 2018)

Microwaves are common; radios, satellite television, radars, GPS, Bluetooth, cell phones and, of course, microwave ovens employ them, they are deemed harmless in most applications, governments, including the United States and Russia, have for decades studied ways to weaponize them (CNN, 2018)

• U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, echoed the theory-the culprit was like, “Someone who wanted to cause friction between Cuba and the U.S. government.” “If it wasn’t a rogue element within the Castro government, perhaps it was a third country,” Rubio said. “Which country would want to disrupt U.S. presence in Cuba, and the logical answer is Russia.” (Global News, 2018)

How do these attacks cause injury?

Directed Energy (Microwave/Radio Frequency)
• The U.S. State Department believe that those affected by the attacks may have been exposed to a directed energy weapon, which can cause injury by creating “cavitation,” or air pockets, in fluids near the inner ear
• The bubbles can travel quickly through two pathways that carry blood to the brain from the inner ear — the cochlear and the vestibular — and “function as a stroke,” (Miami Herald, 2018)

Microwave/Radio Frequency
• Radio Frequency/Microwave produces oxidative stress
• Oxidative Stress – mediated by free radicals – is involved in RF/MW injury
• Oxidative stress refers to a kind of injury against which “antioxidants” relatively protect, in which “reactive oxygen species” or “free radicals” produce changes/damage that can affect, for instance, lipids, proteins, DNA, and RNA. Mitochondria, which are the primary source of energy for cells (and regulate many other phenomena such as steroid hormone production and apoptosis) are a leading source and target of oxidative stress – that is, mitochondrial injury not infrequently accompanies oxidative stress, and has been shown with RF/MW
(UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

• There are two ways ultrasound can harm humans
• The first is that it can heat up cells in the body, causing damage
• The second is that ultrasound can cause “cavitation”
• All sound waves are longitudinal – involving a cyclic pushing and pulling motion of molecules as the wave travels, called compression and rarefaction this happens in air as well as when it travels through an object, such as the body
• Cavitation is when the pressure difference between a strong push and a strong pull in a very loud sound causes bubbles to form

What Attack Methods Have Been Generally Ruled Out?

• U.S. State Department stopped referring to the attacks as “sonic” because they ruled out that the sound was the cause of the symptoms (Miami Herald, 2018)

• Infrasonic weapons like the long range acoustic device (LRAD) rely on loud, low frequency sounds (infrasound)
• These bulky units have been used for crowd control and repelling pirates
• When on high power, the effects are like a “punch in the guts”, ranging from nausea to involuntary evacuation of the bowels
• Not quite the injuries reported by the diplomats (The Conversation, 2018)

What are the Symptoms Experienced by Victims of the Attacks?
• Hearing loss, balance and cognitive problems, brain damage (Miami Herald, 2018)
• A feeling of pressure, pain or ringing in the ears and dizziness after being exposed to a shrill noise-A day later, some reported cognitive deficits (Miami Herald, 2018)
• Mild brain injuries with symptoms including “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” (The Conversation, 2018)
• Headache, cognitive dysfunction, and fatigue (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)
• Vision, balance, and speech problems (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)
• Hearing loss, tinnitus (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

Nonspecific Symptoms
• Sleep symptoms, headache, cognitive dysfunction
• Problems were temporary and apparently recovered with time away from the exposure (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

Others Experienced Persistent Problems
• Speech, balance, vision, epistaxis (nosebleed), peculiar sensory symptoms of pressure and vibration
• Brain injury, white matter abnormalities, brain swelling (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)


Who has been targeted?
• United States-Diplomats & Embassy staff in Cuba & China
• Other unspecified Americans in Cuba
• Canadian Diplomats & Embassy staff in Cuba



Where have Attacks Occurred?
• Cuba-Homes of Diplomats and Embassy staff-U.S. & Canadian
• Cuba-Hotels used by U.S. Diplomats, Embassy Staff & unspecified U.S. Citizens
• China-US consulate in Guangzhou, China (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

How many people have been affected?
• Cuba-26 Americans have been affected with symptoms ranging from hearing loss, balance and cognitive problems, to brain damage (Miami Herald, 2018)
• Cuba-27 Canadian individuals were tested and 19 were cleared by doctors. The remaining 8 received further medical treatment (Global News, 2018)
• China-19 Americans-8 Americans from the consulate in Guangzhou, and “at least 11” from China more broadly (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

What Actions Have Been Taken in Response?
• The U.S. yanked more than 60 per cent of their embassy staff in Cuba late last year, citing ongoing concerns that officials cannot guarantee the safety of staff (Global News, 2018)
• After holding Cuba responsible for either carrying out the attacks or failing to protect American officials, the U.S. in September 2017 recalled more than half of its staff from the embassy and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington (, 2018)
• Canadians have withdrawn some of their Embassy & Diplomatic personnel” from Havana
(Global News, 2018)

• Sounds were heard by Embassy & Diplomatic staff predominantly at night time
• December 2016 through May 2017, U.S. & Canadian diplomatic staff report symptoms
• April 2018, Problems first were recognized in China by U.S. Embassy staff (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

Who has investigated these attacks?
• United States-FBI, U.S. State Department and US intelligence agencies
• United States-Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) attacks-1960s-Soviet Union
• Canada-Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the chief medical adviser for Health Canada (Global News, 2018)

Have the attacks happened before?

U.S. Embassy in Moscow 1960s
Exposure of diplomats to Radio Frequency/Microwave is not a new phenomenon. The US embassy in Moscow was reportedly radiated with microwaves from 1953-1988 (other sources give earlier or later end dates), spawning efforts by the US to shield the embassy. The Soviets claimed the purpose was to jam US listening devices (UC San Diego School of Medicine, 2018)

• During the Cold War, medical mystery involving the aiming of low-level microwave beams by Russia at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the 1960s (Global News, 2018)
• The investigation into the effect of those beams was called Project Pandora and sent American scientists with the Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA) on a hunt to try and uncover whether it was possible for microwaves to cause the reports of fatigue and confusion among staff at the embassy and whether the beams could facilitate mind control (Global News, 2018)
• The bombardment ended in 1979 (Global News, 2018)

Evidence of Research and Development of Microwave Arms

Former Soviet Union-Russia
• US Defense Intelligence Agency warned in 1976 that Soviet research on microwaves showed potential for “disrupting the behaviour patterns of military or diplomatic personnel”
• The Russians dubbed the class of envisioned weapons as psychophysical or psychotropic
(New York Times, 2018)

United States of America
• The American military itself sought to develop microwave arms that could invisibly beam painfully loud booms and even spoken words into people’s heads. The aims were to disable attackers and wage psychological warfare (New York Times, 2018)
• A National Security Agency statement, obtained by Washington lawyer Mark Zaid on behalf of a client described how a foreign power built a weapon “designed to bathe a target’s living quarters in microwaves, causing numerous physical effects, including a damaged nervous system (New York Times, 2018)
• Navy researchers explored the use of the Frey effect to induce sounds powerful enough to cause painful discomfort, and even immobilise the subject
• It is not known if Washington deploys such weapons (, 2018)



Doctors reveal possible ‘neuro-weapon’ used in alleged attacks in Cuba-Miami Herald (2018)

Sonic attacks in China and Cuba: how sound can be a weapon-The Conversation (2018)

Microwaves suspected in ‘sonic attacks’ on US diplomats in Cuba and China, scientists say-CNN (2018)

Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/ Microwave Radiation Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, MD, PhD- Professor of Medicine UC San Diego School of Medicine (2018)

Eight Canadians sickened in mysterious Cuba incidents, RCMP leading investigation-Global News (2018)

Microwave weapon now strongly suspected in mystery attacks on US diplomats in China, (2018)

Microwave Weapons Are Prime Suspect in Ills of U.S. Embassy Workers-The New York Times (2018)

Disclaimer-De Faakto Intelligence Research is provided to first responders for situational awareness, advice, guidance and educational purposes. Intelligence is perishable and fluid. Intelligence is updated and reassessed as new information becomes available. Sources are evidence based and multiple sources are used when possible. Sometimes intelligence assessments present gaps in information, this is a reality in intelligence led operations and gaps are filled when information presents. Emergency first responders should always follow best industry practices, organizational policy-procedures and regulatory standards.