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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.66 minutes to read.

A disturbing new possibility has emerged to explain the injuries suffered by 26 U.S. diplomats serving in Cuba in recent years, and one in China… the illnesses could have been caused by the use of invisible microwave beams aimed at the diplomats…

What would be the motive?… Is there a rogue faction in Cuba trying to harm Americans? Or could a third party be staging the attacks?

In Moscow during the Cold War, the Soviet Union bombarded the U.S. Embassy with microwave beams, perhaps for espionage. From 1953 to May 1975, the beams were emitted from a source in an apartment building some 330 feet west of the embassy, with highest intensities between the third and eighth floors. A second source from the south was detected after that, and in February 1976, screens were put on the windows to reduce the exposure of people inside.

Russia might have a motive in the latest Cuba attacks: to spoil the rapprochement with Washington and thus open the way to closer ties with Moscow. But such a microwave weapon would require a bulky apparatus and relatively close proximity to the targets, who were in different locations. Could that be done clandestinely? And the motive in China is certainly not clear.

Still, the microwave explanation has again raised a question about whether the United States has discovered more than is being said about the perpetrators. If there are known culprits, they should be identified and held to account.

Editorial Board, Washington Post ($)

Beginning in Cuba in November 2016, more than a dozen American diplomats reported feeling ill with mysterious and severe symptoms like loss of hearing and loss of balance…

Similar sets of symptoms also surfaced in other places. Americans at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China, developed symptoms of Havana syndrome in 2017. As GQ and the New York Times have reported, in the last year, a number of new incidents have been reported by CIA officers in Europe and Asia.

The timeline of the incidents, the plausible explanation of microwave weapons, and the specific locations in which they occurred have raised questions of whether Russia is behind them.

In 2018, US intelligence officials described Russia as the primary suspect behind what they believed to be attacks in Cuba and China…

Still, concrete evidence remains elusive; to compile the new report, experts ranked how plausible various explanations are, using limited evidence and educated conjecture based on expertise.

And as the Times reports, these experts and others in national security have pointed out that Russia, as well as the former Soviet Union, have a history of working with microwave weapons — and of using them against the US.

Zeeshan Aleem, Vox

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.72 minutes to read.

During the Cold War the United States and Soviet Union had an understanding, of sorts, a gentleman’s agreement on the conduct of espionage. These were known as “Moscow Rules” under which the services of both countries agreed to not target each other’s intelligence officers or diplomats with physical attacks, to leave the families of each other’s officers alone, and to refrain from other practices that could well lead to reprisals and escalation…

The recent unexplained illnesses and injuries among America’s intelligence officers and diplomats — the so-called “Havana Syndrome”— are extremely concerning. If proven to be true, and proven to be the result of nation-state attacks, quite possibly from Russia, this marks a significant and alarming escalation in Washington’s conflict with Moscow…

This is no longer a function of spy versus spy, but a sinister escalation resulting in covert physical damage to the health and well-being of our intelligence professionals and diplomats…

No one wants to see diplomats or intelligence officers accosted physically or assaulted remotely for doing the work of their country. That is just as true in Moscow as it is here in Washington. The reality is, however, that while we’ve been playing by the rules, Russia has not. They have been on a war footing for some time, but we haven’t appreciated that fact…

Dissuading Moscow of that notion requires diplomacy, to be sure, but when it comes to the safety of our diplomats and intelligence professionals, a strongly worded demarche is insufficient. Director to director conversations must happen, and senior intelligence officer to senior intelligence officer dialogues must take place as they did in the Cold War.

Mike Rogers, former Republican representative in Congress who was chair of the House Intelligence Committee (Published in The Hill)

After examining 21 of the affected U.S. officials from Cuba, a medical team from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair ascribed the symptoms in March 2018 to “an unknown energy source” that was highly directional…

As explained by intelligence experts, to launch an attack, a satellite dish mounted on a small van could possibly be used to direct microwave beams at a target — through walls and windows, and from as far away as a couple of miles…

The prime suspect behind these attacks, according to current and former intelligence officers, is Russia — a U.S. adversary, armed with radiofrequency-energy technology, that under Putin, has engaged in poisoning, injuring and incapacitating its foes…

After more than four years of vile attacks against dozens of American officials, it behooves the Biden administration to conclude the investigations as soon as possible and hold the perpetrators accountable. If it’s not Russia, as the evidence seems to indicate, then who?… If the CIA confirms the involvement of the Cuban regime, that nation should not be given a pass with another one-sided détente. Experience tells us that condoning evil only invites more evil.

Néstor T. Carbonell, author of the book, Why Cuba Matters: New Threats in America’s Backyard. (Published in National Review)