Sunday, November 26, 2017

Project Pandora

From Sharon Weinberger's 8-25-17 Foreign Policy article entitled "The Secret History of Diplomats and Invisible Weapons":

"In 1965, medical workers began showing up at the American embassy in Moscow, drawing blood from the employees inside. The American diplomats were told that doctors were looking for possible exposure to a new type of virus, something not unexpected in a country known for its frigid winters.

"It was all a lie. The Moscow Viral Study, as it was called, was the cover story for the American government’s top secret investigation into the effects of microwave radiation on humans. The Soviets, it turned out, were bombarding the embassy in Moscow with low-level microwaves. The 'Moscow Signal,' as officials in Washington called the radiation, was too low to do any obvious harm to the people in the building. At five microwatts per square centimeter, the signal was well below the threshold needed to heat things, as a microwave oven does. Yet it was also a hundred times more powerful than the Soviets’ maximum exposure standards, which were much more stringent than those of the United States. That was cause for alarm.

"The intelligence community was worried that the Soviets knew something about non-ionizing radiation that the United States did not. With research into the effects of low-level radiation still in its infancy, one of the first theories forwarded by the CIA was that the Soviets were trying to influence the behavior or mental state of American diplomats, or even control their minds. The United States wanted to figure out what was going on without tipping off the Soviets that they knew about the irradiation, and so the diplomats working in the embassy—and being exposed daily to the radiation—were kept in the dark. The State Department was responsible for looking at biological changes associated with microwaves, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects, a division of the Pentagon, was assigned to look at the possible behavioral effects of microwaves.

"In October 1965, Richard Cesaro, the DARPA official in charge of the project, addressed a secret memo to the agency’s director, Charles Herzfeld, explaining the justification for this new research effort. The White House had charged the State Department, the CIA, and the Pentagon to investigate the microwave assault in secret. The State Department was the lead on the program, code-named TUMS, and DARPA’s responsibility, Cesaro explained, was 'to initiate a selective portion of the overall program concerned with one of the potential threats, that of radiation effects on man.'

"Thus was born DARPA Program Plan 562, better known by its code name, Project Pandora, an exploration of the behavioral effects of microwaves and one of the more bizarre episodes in the history of Cold War science."

To read the rest of Weinberger's article, click HERE.

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