A professor of medicine from the University of California, San Diego, said she believes the symptoms experienced by Canadian and US diplomatic workers in Cuba and China between 2016 and 2017 were those of microwave electromagnetic radiation.
Speaking to the CBC, Dr. Beatrice Golomb challenged the claim, put forth this week by US researchers, that the exposure was deliberate, "weaponized," and the result of Cuban or Chinese government action.
"It doesn't have to be weaponized," she said. "The three possibilities are: weapons, surveillance devices – or I'll include in the same category counter-surveillance devices – and the third would be, but very unlikely in this case, innocent communications sources of the kinds that lead to these same health problems in some people in the civilian sector."
"My hypothesis would probably veer toward the surveillance end of things, she noted. "It is well-known that the US Embassy in Moscow was microwaved from 1953 to the late 1980s or 1990s, depending on the source. The US engaged in shielding efforts related to that. Health problems were reported by diplomats."
"According to New York Times articles, it had been bugging by Moscow. But Russia reported that what they were doing [was] trying to thwart our surveillance devices that were on the roof of the embassy," Golomb added.
However, asked about the consequences of long-term exposure to microwaves, Golomb said that Russian scientists have done extensive research into the subject, with the key recommendation being to avoid repeated exposure. "From Russian studies in the 1970s in which they followed people who had occupational exposure to radio-frequency microwave radiation, who had developed health problems of the kind that are now being reported by diplomats, what they stated was that the most important thing in determining the long-term health course was avoidance of re-exposure."
This week, a senior Cuban doctor chairing a commission investigating reports of acoustic attacks against US and Canadian diplomats dismissed a US claim that Havana was engaged in deliberate attacks against the US mission using "weaponized" microwaves, calling the claims "science fiction, not science."
"First, it was sonic weapons, now microwave. What's next, kryptonite?" neurologist Dr. Mitchell Valdes-Sosa said of the US allegations. He also pointed out that for a microwave weapon to work, it would need to be used at close range.