American scientists have been struggling to unravel the cause of a “mystery illness” for years, after reports of incapacitating neurologic symptoms were experienced in American and Canadian government officials stationed in Cuba in 2016, and American diplomats in China in 2018. A perplexing array of symptoms were reported in diplomats, their families, and even their pets intermittently, but usually at night in homes and hotels, with many developing permanent neurologic effects from what physicians termed was a form of “functional brain injury”. 

These distinctive symptoms included headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, imbalance, nosebleeds, memory loss, hives, ringing in the ears and hearing loss.   Odd sounds such as chirping, ringing, grinding or humming, were also experienced, that were loud, emanated from a distinct direction that appeared to follow the individual and could not be reduced by putting their hands over their ears.  The health effects mirror those of individuals who have developed electrosensitivity (EHS) or electromagnetic illness. The National Academy of Sciences in 2020 looked at the evidence and they concluded as well that pulsed radiofrequency radiation is the most plausible explanation for the diplomat’s symptomatology. This is a story of political and medical intrigue. 

CBS Interviews the Diplomats

Interviews of the victims were shown on a 60 minutes episode 3/17/19 with diplomats relating in detail their physical symptoms. Robyn Garfield, a trade officer with the Commerce Department stationed in Shanghai, reported the “sound” attacks he experienced were for months on end. His wife Britta said one attack felt like an electric shock that temporarily paralyzed her. The couple stated there were effects on their children, who suffered blurred vision and loss of balance, with their daughter just suddenly falling on her side one day. 

Catherine Werner, a U.S. Commerce Department trade officer stationed in Guangzhou, China, developed headaches, extreme fatigue, vomiting, nosebleeds and ringing in the ears when the attacks started. Her dogs were throwing up blood.  When her mother arrived to help her, she became sick with the same symptoms. 

Mark Beck, a National Security Agency counterintelligence officer, developed de novo Parkinson’s which he later attributed to events occurring 20 years earlier in 1996 when he was stationed for a week in a hostile country.  His co-worker who traveled with him that week also developed Parkinson’s Disease. An unclassified version of the NSA intelligence report Beck later read, stated that the hostile country’s weapon was a “high-powered microwave system weapon that may have the ability to weaken, intimidate, or kill an enemy over time without leaving evidence…this weapon is designed to bathe a target’s living quarters in microwaves.” and that it is designed to cause “numerous physical effects, including a damaged nervous system.”  

American Cuban Relations Become Tense in 2015

An article in the New Yorker explains how American Cuban relations that were built during the Obama administration became tense in 2015 with the announcement of the new administration, resulting in either Cuba or Russia, and later China, being blamed for the attacks on diplomats in Cuba that grew weekly from December 2015. This led to the withdrawal of most of the U.S. officials from Cuba who underwent comprehensive medical examinations and testing. 

Dr. Douglas Smith, the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, at the University of Pennsylvania, convened a group of experts who initially thought the symptoms could be psychosomatic. However, after interviewing the patients he said, “There was not one individual on the team who was not convinced that this was a real thing”. Physicians did not know what this condition was, but called it “Havana Syndrome”, Cuba Syndrome”, or the “Immaculate Concussion”, as there was no physical evidence at the scene of a weapon or device. 

Senate Hearings Confirm Health Consequences

At a Senate Hearing on the attacks of the U.S. Diplomats on January 9, 2018,  U.S. Senator Menendez from New jersey stated,It is also our understanding that upon finally accepting that the employees were suffering life-altering health consequences, the Department took months to arrange for the appropriate care. It was almost a year before the Department put the embassy on ordered departure status, and only after reports surfaced in the media.”

The University of Pennsylvania Report Published in JAMA

Dr.  Douglas Smith and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania ultimately published a retrospective study of 24 affected government personnel in Havana, Cuba, in the March 20, 2018 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Swanson et al (2018).    The authors thoroughly reviewed the medical records, and clinical tests of vestibular, oculomotor, cognitive, and audiometric function, in addition to neuroimaging. They found “widespread brain network dysfunction”, with 86% of the victims having sleep impairment, 86% with ocular symptoms, 81% with cognitive abnormalities, 76% with headaches and 68% with auditory symptoms. 67% of the cohort was out of work 203 days after the attacks. Some have recovered fully with “cognitive rehabilitation” but others have had symptoms recur. The authors concluded the cause was “of unclear origin” but “These individuals appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma.”They listed it as an “acquired brain injury from a directional exposure of undetermined etiology”from an unnatural source.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, UCSD Professor, Unveils the Mystery Illness

While the FBI could not find evidence of “sonic” attacks, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, professor of Medicine at UCSD and an expert in the biologic mechanisms for unusual illnesses such as Gulf War Syndrome and electrosensitivity, published the most comprehensive, well researched scientific paper on this subject that explained the confounding medical mystery. In her research paper, Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation (2018),  she concludes, “Reported facts appear consistent with pulsed RF/MW as the source of injury in affected diplomats.” These are the same symptoms reported by individuals with electrosensitivity found in the academic literature. Here are some excerpts from her article. 

Strange Sounds Attributed to Radiofrequency PEAK Pulses

Dr. Golomb cited Elder and Chou’s 2003 research paper indicating that the human auditory response of clicks, buzz, hiss and chirping is a well-established phenomenon of radiofrequency (RF) hearing.  The authors note, “The auditory response has been shown to be dependent upon the energy in a single pulse and not on average power density. The weight of evidence of the results of human, animal, and modeling studies supports the thermoelastic expansion theory as the explanation for the RF hearing phenomenon.” 

“Havana Syndrome” Symptoms Look the Same as Electrosensitivity Symptoms

She goes on to explain the phenomenon of electrosensitivity symptoms she has identified in her research at UCSD and the similarities to reported health effects of the “Havana Syndrome”. Dr. Golomb notes, “Each of the protean symptoms that diplomats report also affect persons reporting symptoms from RF/MW: sleep problems, headaches, and cognitive problems dominate in both groups. Sensations of pressure or vibration figure in each. Both encompass vision, balance, and speech problems and nosebleeds. Brain injury and brain swelling are reported in both.”

Electrosensitive Stories from UCSD Investigation

In her published article, Dr. Golomb highlights many stories of electrosensitivity in the UCSD scientific investigation she leads. One case was related to Smart Meters with the article stating,  “In a case reported to UCSD investigators, new-onset right-sided ear pain and hearing loss attended the inciting episode (seated for 6 hours, unknowingly, directly across the wall from a bank of multiple smart meters for a building, slightly toward her right), along with vise-like headache, concentration problems, and two nights of no sleep (followed by chronic lesser sleep impairment), and, abating over months, continued to be triggered, always exclusively or predominantly on the right side, by previously tolerated RF/MW exposures thereafter.”

Physicians in Germany ask for Health Investigation of Cell Towers in 2005 

Dr. Golomb included a reference to an open letter from Dr. Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam to the German State Chancellor, Edmund Stoiber, on behalf of 114 physicians (Bamberger Appeal), asking for an investigation into the newly reported adverse health symptoms of 356 residents who lived near cell towers in Oberfranken, Germany. She noted, “Many humans get sick from emissions far below the recommended limit values, which consider only thermal effects, and we have a sickness picture with characteristic symptom combinations, which are new to us physicians,”  The list of symptoms were, ” Sleep disturbances, tiredness, concentration impairment, forgetfulness, problem with finding words, depressive tendencies, tinnitus, sudden loss of hearing, hearing loss, giddiness, nose bleeds, visual disturbances, frequent infections, sinusitis, joint and limb pains, nerve and soft tissue pains, feeling of numbness, heart rhythm disturbances, increased blood pressure , hormonal disturbances, night-time sweat, nausea.” Resident noted almost immediate improvement when moving away.” Dr. Waldmann-Selsam goes on to say, “physicians were able to prove, by re-testing the patients, the normalization of blood pressure, heart rhythm, hormone disturbances, visual disturbances, neurological symptoms, blood picture,”. She called this an emergency medical situation and requested an official health investigation.  

Eleven years later Dr. Waldmann-Selsampublished an article showing cell towers not only harm humans, they also harm trees and plants. Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. (2016).   

Maine Survey of Smart Meters and Neurological Symptoms in Residents

Dr. Golomb also cited the Maine Health Survey of Smart Meters, which provided an abundance of testimony and research by Richard Conrad, PhD, a John Hopkins biochemist. He performed a health symptom survey of residents in Maine after the installation of smart meters in 2012. This was in response to reports of neurologic symptoms in residents after smart meters were attached to their homes. A constellation of “severe” symptoms of electrosensitivity that developed in residents included fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, headaches, agitation, ringing in the ears, pressure in the head, tingling burning skin, heart racing, arrhythmia, memory problems. 

Here is testimony from one individual.

“Before smart meters, I had worked in an office full of computers and wi-fi and had no electrical sensitivities. I had not even heard of electrical sensitivities, and had no concerns about smart meters. Both my wife and myself began to develop mysterious symptoms that we never had before, and then more than a week after the symptoms began, we discovered that smart meters had been installed before we first developed the symptoms. Because of smart meter exposure I am now extremely electrically sensitive and can no longer safely live in our San Francisco home. I went from being a perfectly healthy 35 year-old to being electrically sensitive in a matter of weeks. The limitations of this condition are extraordinary. I do not know how much longer I will be able to work at my financial services firm. Nor do I know how much longer I will be able to live in a city or town with a cell phone tower. Once a person becomes sensitized to microwave radiation, life becomes completely different, and difficult. I have constant headaches, unless I am in nature. My ears ring if I am within miles of a cell tower. I have fatigue if I am around wi-fi for too long. Using a cell phone for calls or internet functions has become impossible. I used all of the above technology just 15 short months ago with no problems. I had no idea such technology could be harmful. Now my wife and I search for a safe place to live and I look back fondly on the days I could use a computer without symptoms. I know that many, many others are going through similar situations-all since installation of smart meters. Something must be done.”

The Mechanism of Harm from Wireless Radiofrequency Radiation Elucidated

The mechanisms explaining both the “Havana Syndrome” and electrosensitivity were also reviewed. The central elements are “oxidative stress and the relevance of oxidative stress to potential auxiliary mechanisms, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, blood- brain barrier disruption, membrane alterations, impaired blood flow, apoptosis, effects on voltage-gated calcium and anion channels, and triggering of autoimmune reactions.”  Yakymenko’s  2015 study on radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and oxidation was cited, as his group found that 93 of 100 studies demonstrated a positive association between radiofrequency radiation and oxidative stress. Dr. Golomb explains that oxidative stress is mediated by free radicals, which induce an inflammatory response, that can damage lipids, proteins, DNA, RNA and mitochondria (the primary source of energy for cells). Dr. Golomb also cites research showing melatonin (an important internal human antioxidant) levels are low in persons with electrosensitivity and chemical sensitivity. 

The NSA Report

A diverse expert academic scientific team at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was commissioned by the State Department to examine this issue in detail. While some previously hypothesized the symptoms could be due to vestibular migraine  or be psychosomatic, this esteemed committee reviewed all the evidence in these episodes, writing a 2020 independent consensus document. They came to the same conclusion as Dr. Golomb, stating, “Overall, directed pulsed RF energy … appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered” .  Their concern was urgent noting, “It is imperative that the United States recognize and quickly respond to future cases with a well-coordinated, multi-disciplinary, science-based investigation and effective interventions.”  

Canadian Diplomats File a Lawsuit

While American diplomats hired an attorney, as they felt they were being studied perhaps more than treated, several Canadian diplomats Filed a lawsuit against the Canadian Government in February 2018, claiming failure of the government to protect them or provide adequate medical treatment and downplaying their symptoms. They also contend that the Canadian government interfered with and stopped the diplomat’s participation in the University of Pennsylvania’s investigation into the “Havana Syndrome”.

Where Will the Next “Havana Syndrome” Be…Your Home? 

These episodes may be a harbinger of more frequent and serious “syndromes” to come. In order to accommodate the telecom industries manufactured need for 5G telecommunications expansion, cell towers are being placed adjacent to homes. This will surely increase health reports of debilitating electromagnetic illness that is already apparent across the United States and in other countries. City council meetings are filling with people who have electrosensitivities that developed or were exacerbated by cell towers placed near their homes, forcing them to be modern refugees begging for relief and a safe place to live with their families. 

 Developing “Havana Style” Microwave Weapons: Who is Minding the Military’s Store? 

The story continues as our government and media reports on the military’s new warfare technology with directed energy weapons. Congress is being asked to approve budgets for research and development of these modern “Star Wars” energy weapons to counter and compete with China, Cuba, Russia and others.  A Forbes article  reports that the Defense Health Agency is looking to develop a wearable sensor for soldiers to detect microwave weapons that cannot be seen and may be transitory, but are surely felt by the individual. Where is this leading us?  

5G in Space

Before Starlink we had about 2,500 satellites in orbit. Currently we have about 3,000 operational satellites in space according to the Union of Concerned Scientists database, with plans for a massive expansion. Elon Musk has already put 700+ 5G Starlink satellites in space for high speed internet with plans to expand to 42,000 low orbit SpaceX satellites. 

The telecommunications industry is looking forward to billions of dollars in profits from the further expansion of 2G, 3G and 4G in space with large cell towers in lower orbit where they have never been before in lower orbit.  In the interest of having fast broadband access anywhere on earth the government has entered into public private partnership with players that are being allowed to blanket the earth with low orbit satellites constantly radiating beam forming, laser like microwave energy along with older 2G, 3G and 5G wavelengths . These companies are commercializing space for their profit. These include not only Starlink satellites but also Amazon with 3,000 Kupier satellites which are preparing to launch and collect more of your data as you shop online from space.

 Microsoft is also a player in this , planning to offer Azure Orbital services to connect satellites to it’s cloud computing network.  What will the consequences be?

Space Wars? 

The potential for other countries to interfere with and destroy these satellites has not escaped the government. Low earth orbits are at risk, but could also transmit directed energy to defend their territory. While we march ahead launching thousands of satellites there is a lack of domestic and international policy to guard against unethical surveillance, the massive increase in the environmental footprint of these projects,  the loss of the dark night sky, a looming disaster with space debris, let alone if nuclear weapons were detonated from space.

Spin versus Science

We have not considered how this blanket of continuous microwave radiation on land and in space which we cannot see, will affect human health or planetary health. The short-term consequences have not been carefully thought out, not to mention the long-term consequences. Big Tech’s economic call for profits and “progress” over people seems to be a recurring theme. Spin, not science prevail once again.

Government Reports

  • An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees
    and Their Families at Overseas Embassies
    : Standing Committee to Advise the Department of State on Unexplained Health Effects on U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies. Independent review and Consensus Study Report.2020. National Academy of Sciences. David A. Relman and Julie A. Pavlin, Editors.

Scientific Articles 

News Reports

Physicians for Safe Technology