- - Monday, August 9, 2021

Some 200 American diplomats, intelligence, and military officers have been harmed, severely disabled and perhaps even killed by apparent microwave radiation attacks over recent years and decades, probably using weapons the Russians bragged years ago they were developing.

Americans have been targeted and harmed by these attacks in Moscow, Peking, Shanghai, Havana, Vienna, some American cities, and now, even outside The White House.

All this raises a major question: Why do U.S officials, who are investigating this matter, act like they are unaware of the nature and source of these “mysterious” attacks?

This month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, trying to reassure his diplomats about the microwave aggression, stated in a memo that the government does not know what is happening or how to stop it.

Most of the reporting on the subject has portrayed the apparent attacks inaccurately or incompletely as a new phenomenon and of uncertain origin. For example, the other day, a Pentagon correspondent reported that these attacks “began in Cuba five years ago.” Has the media forgotten its own reporting from just a few years ago?

In fact, it has been widely and accurately reported, the attacks began in Moscow 68 years earlier, in 1953.

Furthermore, the Russians have privately admitted this, justifying it because they were simply jamming listening devices on the U.S. embassy’s roof, as The New York Times reported some 45 years ago. As correspondent Bernard Gwertzman wrote on February 26, 1976, after 15 years of denials, “The Russians have privately admitted to using microwaves, to counter the array of listening devices on the [U.S. embassy’s] roof, they have claimed. Some people think they use microwaves to activate their own surveillance devices hidden in the embassy.”

Mr. Gwertzman went on to write that the Russian action had “irritated Administration officials and produced diplomatic protests” because of “possible damage to the health of American personnel from long periods of exposure to the low‐level radiation…”:

“According to Administration and Congressional sources, the Russians have been beaming the microwave emissions into the American embassy for 15 years. At first, the waves came from a nearby building, but after that structure was torn down, the waves came from across Tchaikovsky Street, the large boulevard the embassy faces.”

But in recent years, reporting by “The newspaper of record” has ignored its earlier, ground-breaking revelations.

The July 16, 2021 issue of The New Yorker, in a  well-researched story by Adam Entous, made it clear that  “many American officials …suspect that  Russian operators and technology are responsible for the [Havana] syndrome, but quoted a “senior Biden administration official” as saying “We have not yet determined intent or motive. We do not have a view on that yet.”  It also reveals that Since Mr. Biden was elected president, the attacks have largely shifted to Vienna, with some two-dozen directed against American officials.

Over the years, American diplomats in Russia repeatedly protested the “…possible damage to the health of American personnel from long periods of exposure to the low‐level radiation…”, prompting protests from at least three American ambassadors before 1976 – Foy Kohler, Jacob Beam, and Llewellyn Thompson. Alarmingly, three U.S ambassadors to Moscow died of cancer at early ages – Chip Bohlen at 69, Llewellyn Thompson at 67, and, after suffering from nausea and bleeding in his eyes, Walter Stoessel at 66.

U.S. Government doctors have warned of the potential dangers caused by the  so-called Moscow signal, stating that it was “vital to install protective screens on embassy windows and to inform the personnel of the risks.”  In 2011, The International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possible human carcinogens.

I worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 1966 to 1971. I remember that this was a serious issue in the diplomatic and intelligence communities and the media even back then. It was well known what the Russians were up to.

American officials say they are now investigating this situation. Still, they should not act surprised or puzzled by these “mystery” illnesses and their origins — they have long been reported on over the years by numerous media sources.

In April 2012, then Russian Defense Minister Anatoli Serdyukov announced, ominously, that Russia’s ten-year military procurement plan included weapons based on “directed energy” and “psychotronics “— which would be intended to attack the central nervous system:

“The development of weaponry based on new physics principles — direct-energy weapons, geophysical weapons, wave-energy weapons, genetic weapons, psychotronic weapons, etc. — is part of the state arms procurement program for 2011-2020 …”

Some government doctors have attributed this so-called “Havana Syndrome” to psychological causes, including an FBI study, leaving many victims feeling abandoned by their own government, and some have spoken out.

Former CIA operations officer Marc Polymeropoulos has suffered from severe vertigo and migraine headaches that forced him to retire since he was attacked, he believes, in a hotel room in Moscow in December 2017.

Foreign Service Officer James Schumaker was stationed in Moscow and developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1985 and has spoken out on his ordeal. A former intelligence official told me recently that he knew two military attaches at the Moscow embassy who suffered severe health problems, including leukemia, after serving there.

In December 2017, it was reported that Mike Beck, a National Security Agency counter-intelligence officer detained in an unnamed “hostile” country, and an NSA colleague, later suffered debilitating illness and Parkinson’s disease after spending a week in that country in 1996.

There are now over 200 American officials who are believed to have been harmed by possible microwave radiation attacks, suffering such debilitating and disabling symptoms like constant headaches, dizziness, loss of memory and vision, nausea, insomnia, and vertigo.

In December 2020, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded in a report by a panel of 19 experts in medicine and related fields, commissioned by the State Department, that the “most plausible mechanism” that caused the severe health effects during incidents beginning in 2016 was “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy,” which includes microwaves.

U.S. officials suspect that the attacks have been carried out by Russia’s military espionage organization, the G.R.U., which is known to have participated in sabotage and assassinations throughout Europe. In May, Christopher Miller, President Trump’s last acting Secretary of Defense, told Politico that such attacks amounted to “an act of war.”   The issue has reportedly now become a “top priority” for CIA Director William Burns, who reportedly refers privately to the incidents as “attacks.”

The White House would not tell me if President Biden raised this subject with Russian President Putin in their recent meeting. It should have been. Russians, it seems, and perhaps the Cubans and Chinese Communists, have been getting away with attacking and inflicting severe damage on Americans. Something should be done about it.

• Lewis Regenstein, an Atlanta writer, worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 1966-71.

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