Havana “Sonic” Attacks; Microwaves?

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

This is about the newly popular theory that microwaves, not ultrasonic sound, are responsible for the brain injuries of U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China.  Golomb’s paper (pdf) Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/ Microwave Radiation is a plausibility argument.

I would have preferred  that the statement on page 2,  “Sonic mediation was justly rejected by the experts”,  had not been made.  The word “justly” suggests that the author may have an emotional stake in the outcome.  But the article does establish that the symptoms are compatible with microwaves.  Quoting, the stated conclusion is:

Conclusions and Relevance: Reported facts appear consistent with pulsed RF/MW as the source of injury in Cuba diplomats.

This is not the same as proof that microwaves are causal. New, incompatible facts could emerge that invalidate the hypothesis.

There is a tentative implication that pulses of microwave, not continuous-wave, are required to produce damage. Very slight heating of brain issue is proposed to cause a pressure wave inside the skull which hits the inner ear from the inside.

The bulk of Golomb’s paper consists of anecdotal or uncontrolled experiments that suggest that the modern environment produces widespread exposure to toxic levels of pulsed microwaves. This may be true. I’m one of the bunch who hold a cellphone well away from our heads, and use the speakerphone or earbuds.

Cellphone use may cause the appearance of heat shock proteins in the brain. (PUbMed) Mobile phones, heat shock proteins and cancer. This is an entirely different kind of damage from that produced by ionizing radiation, such as x-rays. There exists the statistical possibility that John McCain’s glioblastoma was caused by diagnostic x-rays.

Heat shock may result in delayed disease, or nothing at all. Induced pressure waves may be causative or benign. On page 12, Golomb remarks

Scientific “skepticism” about RF/MW health effects is well represented in the literature, but is of the industry-fueled stripe(think tobacco): Effects of conflicts of interest on research results (as well as on funding, regulatory agencies, legislation and academics ) vis a vis RF/MW, has been repeatedly documented and decried 93-97…

I’ve written extensively about the ultrasonic hypothesis, where audible sounds are a side effect. Like the microwave Frey effect, ultrasound can “project” audible sound at a distance. I did not consider microwaves because of the absence of a particular feature from the incident reports. If you stick your finger in a low power microwave beam, around 6 milliwatts/square centimeter, at a few gigahertz, your finger will feel noticeable warmth. Warmth is sensed when there is a differential between the upper and lower ends of the skin thermoreceptors.

Reports of sensations of warmth are absent. Quoting Kenneth Foster via Wikipedia on the proposed MEDUSA weapon,

Experts, such as Kenneth Foster, a University of Pennsylvania bioengineering professor who published research on the microwave auditory effect in 1974, have discounted the effectiveness of the proposed device. Foster said that because of human biophysics, the device “would kill you well before you were bothered by the noise”. According to former professor at the University of Washington Bill Guy, ”There’s a misunderstanding by the public and even some scientists about this auditory effect,” and “there couldn’t possibly be a hazard from the sound, because the heat would get you first”.[9]

The absence of “warmth” is not insurmountable, but it adds a complexity,  that the microwave frequency must be low enough to prevent a skin temperature gradient detectable by the skin thermoreceptors.

The GSM “2G” cellphone is the second primary obstacle to the microwave theory. GSM, which dominated the world cellphone landscape from about 1991 to 2005, is a cellphone standard that uses both UHF and  microwave frequencies. Unlike systems that came before or after, GSM is characterized by intense pulses of energy. If you remember hearing strange noises on your radio that you tracked to somebody’s phone, that was GSM. Pulses from GSM phones  interfered with a lot of supposedly well shielded electronic equipment. The phones were banned from sound studios.

GSM is still in operation as “2G”. If you use your phone in a fringe area, absent 3G or 4G coverage, your phone defaults to it. The result is 1 or 2 watts of microwave emitted very close to your skull, in the form of intense bursts. Check out your phone at Highest and Lowest Radiation Cell Phones.

One or two watts of energy up against your head is equivalent to tens of thousands of watts a few hundred yards distant, unless the transmitter has a very large, very conspicuous and not very portable antenna. The larger the antenna, the sharper the beam.  So we have questions:

  • GSM phone are not optimized as weapons. Is the magic of the theory in the shape of the pulses?
  • If a GSM phone is in any way a proxy for the optimized weapon, where are the legions of brain damaged cellphone users?

When it’s all squared away,, we may finally have the answer to a riddle. (Newsweek) Why Does Vladimir Putin Avoid Smartphones?