We'll have to stop referring to the still-unexplained attacks on American diplomats in Cuba as "sonic attacks" because they apparently did not involve sound waves.
Victims of the mysterious attacks all say they heard loud noises, leading to early reports that referred to these incidents as "sonic attacks," but a group of scientists who study threats to national security for the federal government say the perception of sound was a side effect.
According to the New York Times, scientists who've been studying the attacks for the past year now believe the sounds and the various physical side effects the victims have suffered from were the result of some form of weaponized microwaves.
The medical team that examined 21 affected diplomats from Cuba made no mention of microwaves in its detailed report published in JAMA in March. But Douglas H. Smith, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a recent interview that microwaves were now considered a main suspect and that the team was increasingly sure the diplomats had suffered brain injury. [...]
Strikes with microwaves, some experts now argue, more plausibly explain reports of painful sounds, ills and traumas than do other possible culprits — sonic attacks, viral infections and contagious anxiety.
In particular, a growing number of analysts cite an eerie phenomenon known as the Frey effect, named after Allan H. Frey, an American scientist. Long ago, he found that microwaves can trick the brain into perceiving what seem to be ordinary sounds.
Some of the victims told investigators that they heard sounds even when they covered their ears, but covering their ears didn't help because they weren't actually hearing a sound. Targeted microwaves tricked their brains into thinking they heard sound. The scientists say even a deaf person would have felt as though they could hear something.
In addition to tricking the victims' brains, the scientist say targeted microwaves could also cause the concussion-like symptoms reported by the victims such as dizziness and nausea. It could even cause long-term or permanent brain damage.
The New York Times goes into greater detail about the historical development of weapons and systems that use microwaves, including work by the Soviet Union and by our own Department of Defense which amusingly contracted former Russians to work on it.
Whatever the case may be and regardless of who carried out the attacks, they appear to have been successful.
If the goal of attacking American diplomats in Cuba was to sour diplomatic relations, it worked. The Trump regime and any other hypothetical Republican administration would have been inclined to withdraw from Cuba after President Obama moved toward normalizing our relations, but these attacks gave Trump the perfect excuse.
The State Department still hasn't pointed a finger at the Cuban government or any other perpetrator, but that obviously didn't stop Trump from rolling back another major accomplishment of President Obama.
I wonder if the attackers knew this would prompt Trump to roll back relations or if Trump turned out to be even Trumpier than they imagined.