The attacks have a very long lineage of issues, including several people incapacitated, and Trump administration refusal to act on the information provided. Known as Havana Syndrome, cases have been reported in Cuba, China, and the Russian Federation. These cases started circa 2016. The State Department commissioned the study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in response.
The list of symptoms is considered most plausibly consistent with microwave radiation. Other causes, like chemical agents and infections were not ruled out. According to The New York Times, those affected suffered a range of effects:
Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement.
Ex-president Trump’s administration downplayed the incidents, and not very surprisingly, a supply of alternative explanations of the various cases circulated through associated health "experts". The people affected were stonewalled in terms of any sort of effective response to their conditions.
Microwave weapons overview
Nikolai Tesla was the first to suggest the use of radio frequencies for the treatment of diseases. Since then, many different versions of radio, electromagnetic and microwave frequency weapons have been discussed and developed to various degrees. The USSR was a leader in the field and the Russian Federation is believed to have continued with research.
Microwave weapons in various forms, notably “pulsed” microwaves, the type believed to be behind the medical conditions experienced by US embassy and other US government agencies. There’s a hazy picture of this tech online and many not-very effective and rather disorganised descriptions of these weapons online.
Images of different types of military uses of EMP and similar weapons are a bit more explanatory. The typical use of these weapons is to knock out electronics.
The medical effects, however, particularly coming from an unknown source, are much harder to pin down. The neurological effects are broadly similar, affecting posture and sensory human “electronics”. This analogy does hold true to quite an extent due to possible effects on bioelectrical elements in human nervous systems.
The bottom line is that focused energy weapons are an established fact. This range of effects is simply one of many. Focused energies and human tissues don’t mix well. There’s a good baseline case for believing that such selective medical effects were targeted. Nobody else seemed to experience these effects? That’s way beyond coincidence, statistically, medically, or any mix thereof.
There’s a lot that could be done about radiation weapons of this type. Jamming radio frequencies isn’t exactly unknown. Microwave targeting is also well known, and equally jammable. This rather prehistoric tech isn’t unbeatable, just a bit new.
The diplomatic and foreign policy issues are obviously far more complex than beating Radio Shack Bargain Basement technologies. Assuming the allegations to be correct, and Russia, China and Cuba reverting to their remarkably boring, useless Cold War modes, it looks like the Cold War has to be on again. Incredibly irritating as this is, after decades of progress, the purely criminal, irresponsible nature of the attacks must be addressed.
Taken in context with the ongoing global cyberwar, these various attacks, limp-wristed and puerile as they are, are pretty much statements of intent. This is the sort of thing you can congratulate yourself with in the tedious vacuum of global power politics. It’s a sort of big-stick-waving exercise, in many ways. Whatever deranged level of self-serving paranoia and xenophobia is involved, the attacks must not be allowed to succeed or be perceived to have succeeded. That’d simply encourage more abuses, and put people at risk needlessly.
The bigger question is this – Do we really need to have another Cold War? Until this monolithic level of megalomania came along, the world was doing pretty well, reducing trade barriers, cutting through the ancient ideological and cultural barriers. The Neanderthal level of politics we’ve had for the last decade or so can’t last; it can’t survive the realities of the modern world. It can, however, obstruct the development of a much better world. That has to end, one way or another.