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US investigates mysterious microwave attacks

Is the West under attack from an unknown enemy? Last week, the United States linked two attacks near the White House to an unexplained sickness that experts blame on a Russian secret weapon. It was just an ordinary day. A White House official was walking her dog in a quiet Washington DC suburb when a man got out of a van and walked past her. Suddenly, her face tingled, a high-pitch noise rang in her ears, her head throbbed. The dog at her feet seized up in pain. She later linked the attack to a similar experience months earlier in a London hotel. Now, the US government is treating this incident and a second outside the White House as cases of Havana Syndrome. An unexplained illness that has left dozens of people with long-term brain injuries. Officials at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, were the first to report symptoms. In 2016 they heard strange grating noises and believed they were under attack from some kind of sonic weapon. Sound is used in crowd control and some shops use a device called a Mosquito to repel teenagers. Trump blamed the Cuban government and pulled diplomats out of Havana. Cuba denied responsibility, blaming pesticides for the headaches. But that didn’t explain the noise. Researchers studied recordings of the strange sounds and identified them. They were crickets. The authorities suspected mass hysteria and an illusory illness. But similar cases were popping up around the world. In 2018, US officials evacuated from Guangzhou, China, reporting the same high-pitched sound, dizziness and nausea. Some did not recover, suffering persistent concussion. Brain scans showed permanent nerve damage and a study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded the most likely cause was a directed energy device. A microwave weapon. This technology is not new. During the Cold War, the US and Russia developed ways to target electromagnetic energy to damage equipment without harming people. In 2019, the US unveiled THOR, a defence system that uses high-power microwaves to disable drone attacks. But what do microwaves do to people? Scientist Edl Schamiloglu says the human head acts like a receiving antenna and the pulses create the sensation of sound. When biologist Allan Frey stumbled across this phenomenon in 1961, Russia took notice. To his surprise, he was invited to Moscow and shown inside their military laboratories. They were researching the effect of microwaves on the brain, Frey says. At the same time, the US embassy came under attack from a mysterious microwave signal. No one was harmed, but now experts wonder whether the Moscow Signal and Havana Syndrome may be linked. One victim is convinced Russia is responsible. Former CIA operative Marc Polymeropoulos fell sick in 2017 after meeting Russian agents in Moscow. He woke up in the night, his room spinning around his head. His ears ringing. The Russians had told him: “You’re not welcome here.” But Schamiloglu says this is “textbook physics” not rocket science. Other countries might have the technology too. Reports suggest China used microwave weapons on Indian troops last year. And a small device could easily fall into the hands of terrorists. Is the West under attack from a hidden enemy? Making waves Some say no, there is no evidence. There have been a few dozen cases in four years, with no conclusive proof of sonic weapons or microwaves. People feel sick and get headaches all the time and we do not usually blame invisible rays and hidden enemies. Working in embassies, often in enemy territory, will make people fearful and suspicious. But we must consider the facts and not let fear control us. Others say yes, the facts are clear. America’s intelligence services have used phone data to show that Russian spies were in the same cities when the attacks took place. Victims have been left wheelchair-bound and using hearing aids. They reported the same sound followed by sickness without knowing about other cases. Someone has a secret weapon and is using it without fear of retaliation. KeywordsCold War - A period of diplomatic conflict between blocs led by the USA and the USSR that lasted from 1947 until 1991, when the USSR collapsed.

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