NBC News is reporting that the mysterious attacks that have been causing brain injuries to U.S. personnel in Cuba and China are likely the work of Russia.
Since last year, the U.S. military has been working to reverse-engineer the weapon or weapons used to harm the diplomats, according to Trump administration officials, congressional aides and others briefed on the investigation, including by testing various devices on animals. As part of that effort, the U.S. has turned to the Air Force and its directed energy research program at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the military has giant lasers and advanced laboratories to test high-power electromagnetic weapons, including microwaves.
Although the U.S. believes sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon were likely used on the U.S. government workers, they are also exploring the possibility that one or more additional technologies were also used, possibly in conjunction with microwaves, officials and others involved in the government’s investigation say.
The U.S. has said 26 government workers were injured in unexplained attacks at their homes and hotels in Havana starting in late 2016, causing brain injuries, hearing loss and problems with cognition, balance, vision and hearing problems. Strange sounds heard by the workers initially led investigators to suspect a sonic weapon, but the FBI later determined sound waves by themselves couldn’t have caused the injuries.
For more see: NBCNews
This is a new type of attack. Directed energy via electromagnetic force or directed sonic energy or a combination has been theorized and of course explored in science fiction. But investing resources to turn these types of technologies into a weapon is the realm of a nation state. And using that weapon against diplomats is clearly only in the domain of a rogue state.
A nation that would conduct an attack like this is one that feels unconstrained. This is the type of nation that would sanction assassinations and attacks like the conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal in the UK. It is the same type of act that would be done by a nation that uses its resources to create and conduct cyber attacks against the election infrastructure of western nations and to use cyber attacks to discredit or detract from any other western institution it desires (including institutions like the Olympics).
So yes, we believe this attack was Russian, based only on what was in the NBC article and the observed behaviors of Putin’s Russia.
We also believe this type of next generation attack is something that will take western socients a while to react to. It is the nature of free and open societies, it can take time for open socients to update their way of thinking. We need new paradigms to deal with threats from hostile nation’s like Russia. Our hope is that by frank and open examination of this threat we can accelerate our collective decision-making.
For more on Russia and other nation’s see the Threat Brief Threat References Page.