The Moscow Signal was the name given by intelligence insiders to the low-power microwave beams claimed to have been broadcast into the US embassy for more than two decades, from 1953 until 1976. No members of the public were to hear of it until 1976, not even the staff of the US embassy in Moscow. Journalist Paul Brodeur, longtime writer for The New Yorker, recounted the events in his 1977 book The Zapping of America: “According to the first report of the affair, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on February 7 , Ambassador Walter J. Stoessel Jr had told some of the 125 members of his staff that the Russians were using microwave beams to listen in on conversations inside the embassy, and that such radiation could be harmful to their health…”[p95]
As it happens, the signal went undiscovered until 1962 when a security sweep for listening devices revealed the presence of an unusual pulsed series of microwaves. The Department of Defense had only recently terminated its Tri-Service Program, a microwave studies “health and safety” evaluation operated from 1957 to 1961, for reasons that Brodeur makes clear. What followed in the wake of the Moscow Signal discovery was a rapid withdrawal of related, defense-funded radio/radar research among independent non-military contractors. In 1966, the government classified its continuing effort as Project Pandora, a three year investigation that maintained complete official silence until the story of the Moscow Signal broke in the papers –most of Pandora’s experiments, it seems, have never been declassified.
The focus of Brodeur’s whistleblowing in Zapping was the power density exposure, arbitrarily set and voluntarily adopted at the limit of ten-milliwatts per centimeter squared (10mW/cm2). The Russians, he states, set their upper limit 1,000 times lower, measured in microwatts. Even one milliwatt was a figure much too high for Russian workplace safety . During the mid-60s period of contentious debate among knowing Americans, a one-milliwatt (1mW/cm2) limit had been suggested by the deputy director of the Bureau of Radiological Health (Robert L. Elder) who then reversed himself to defend a five-milliwatt limit for industry. Not without irony, the Moscow Signal was said to be at four-milliwatts per square centimeter.
In Chapter 3 (The Cover-up Begins), Brodeur wrote,”By the late 1950s, virtually all the investigations into the biological effects of microwaves were being either conducted or financed by the Department of Defense, which had assigned the Air Force the responsibility of developing a program of coordinated research in the three [armed] branches…known as the Tri-Service Program…Therefore the task..was validating the ten-milliwatt level that had already been adopted..as a theoretically safe level of continuous whole-body exposure to microwaves
…[p32]…As for nonthernal, or low-level, effects upon human beings..it was virtually ignored during the Tri-Service Program. On..occasion..it was treated as a joke
…[p33] One was a study..at the Naval Medical Research Institute [that] reported..testicular damage resulting in temporary sterility..in test animals exposed to power densities of only five milliwatts per square centimeter. Another was an animal study by Russell L. Carpenter..whose findings not only suggested that pulsed microwaves, such as those used in radar, might have a nonthermal effect in producing cataracts, but also..that cataracts might occur through the cumulative effect of repeated exposures to low-level microwave
“By the time of the fourth and final Tri-Service conference which was held in New York in August 1960, it was apparent that the military-industrial complex had developed almost complete immunity to any information that might place the ten milliwatt level in question. By then, it was known that the power of microwave-radiating equipment, which had risen within the previous twenty years from average outputs of ten watts to almost a million watts, would soon be increased to meet the demands of the space age.”[p34]
Wow –before World War II was over, the electrical output of radar zoomed from ten watts to a million. Then, along came the microwave ovens, source of the contentious and equally arbitrary 5mW/cm2 limit. One of Paul Brodeur’s driving points was that leakage from electronics –radar and broadcast anntennas to home appliances– was commonplace and in excess of the too-high recommedations anyway.
“Over the next few years [after 1962]..it became apparent that the Russians had based their standard primariliy on the effects of low-level microwave radiation on the central nervous system, which they had observed in the course of many large-scale, long-term clinical investigations of workers… [It] turned out that the Russians had recognized unusual effects of radio-frequency energy on the human central nervous system as early as 1933 and had been studying the problem ever since. [p35]
…”Concerning the genetic effects of microwaves…[they were] first discovered [by an American] back in 1959 by Dr. John H. Heller and some associates..who observed gross chromosomal abnormalities in garlic root tips..irradiated with microwaves at power levels far below those necessary to produce heat. By 1963, Heller and his colleagues had demonstrated that low-power microwave radiation could produce in mammalian cells and insects mutations similar to those caused by gamma rays, X-rays and ultraviolet rays. Ironically, when the findings of Heller [et.al]..were published, they received more recognition in the Soviet Union than in the United States...[p90]
“At first, it was believed [the embassy discovery]..had something to do with normal eavesdropping operations…[but it] was soon realized, however, that the Russians were using multiple frequencies and widely fluctuating microwave beams with irregular patterns which did not appear to be applicable to intelligence gathering… [The] motive for the Soviet microwave bombardment..became the subject of intense scrutiny by..intelligence agencies, including the CIA whose officials had become belatedly aware of the vast amount of research that the Russians had conducted..on human behavior… In the autumn of 1965, the Institute for Defense Analyses..convened a special task force to assess the problem and..duplicate some of the Russian experiments… In addition, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)..set up a special laboratory at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where..rhesus monkeys were irradiated..at power densities..similar to the Moscow Signal. [p41]
By May of 1976, as new rounds of disclosure made their way to print, “an Associated Press report by Barton Reppert quoted Richard S. Cesaro, who was in charge of Project Pandora, as conceding that some of the scientists connected with the study felt that low-intensity microwave radiation had produced signs of aberrant behavior in monkeys. [p101]…another Associated Press story by Reppert stated that recent tests..showed radiation levels in the Moscow embassy to be considerably higher than..earlier tests…and that an outside telephone line had actually been found to be carrying radiation directly into the office (and, presumably into the ear) of Ambassador Stoessel…[who]was ‘beside himself’ with this latest development…” [p103]
“Two weeks later, the..indefatigable Reppert..revealed that over an eighteen-month period in 1967 and 1968 the State Department had conducted special tests to detect genetic damage in employees returning from Moscow, and..done so without notifying the employees about the purpose of the testing but had deliberately misled them into thinking..the tests were..for another reason… Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson, of the George Washington University Medical School..described the tests..as showing ‘funny results– lots of chromosome breaks.’ [p104]…[Dr. Thomas H. Gresinger]..recalled..[that] the technicians..had been instructed to take buccal smears from the Moscow employees as part of their routine homecoming physical examinations and to tell them that they were being checked for..bacteria. When I heard the words ‘buccal smears’, my ears picked up. Buccal smears are never used to culture bacteria; they’re a scraping taken from inside the mouth and they’re designed solely for the purpose of detecting chromosomal abnormalities.'”[p105]
Fourteen documents from Project Pandora were released to Barton Reppert through a Freedom of Information request: “The remaining documents in the declassifeid Pandora file pertain mostly to meetings held in 1968 and 1969..[p118] ..”The April..meeting ended with the science advisory committee’s emphasizing ‘the need for information on humans in addition to the accelerated animal studies at Walter Reed.’ The committee urged ‘the Walter Reed facility to develop a human program…six to eight months and that they could be obtained from Ft. Dietrich [sic]… On May 12..the committee..met at the Institute of Defense Analysis to discuss just how to design and conduct the human studies. Among other things, they agreed that the strength of the signal used in the studies should be between four and five milliwatts per square centimeter…'[p119]…on June 18…the science advisory committee..reached the following conclusions about the human studies: ‘It was the concensus that the aim should be to duplicate or simulate the Moscow environment..over an eight-to-ten hour period’… Cesaro went on to tell the committee that there was evidence that low-level radiation could penetrate the central nervous system of monkeys..[and] who went on to say that the effects could be physiological, behavioral and genetic. As things turned out, the..clear direction for future research that was recommended..in the spring of 1969 soon became clouded with uncertainty. Indeed, during the next few months, a mysteriuos change of heart and mind seems to have taken place in..Project Pandora…[p120]
…[H]uman studies..after all, threatened to produce some embarassing data. [p121]…Project Pandora came to a rather abrupt end on January 12, 1970 after a final meeting… As for the planned human experiments, the committee decided that ‘based on existing information, there is no evidence that any permanent deleterious effects are to be expected.‘” [p124]
In amongst the noise of the 1977 newspaper accounts was the quietly circulated notice that “..sources within the [State] department admitted privately that excessive radiation was emanating from the telephone of former Ambassador Stoessel. It was caused by a high-frequency one-thousand watt radio transmitter located on the roof of the embassy above Stoessel’s office. When this transmitter was operating, it induced high-frequency signals in the tens of milliwatts in phone lines running to the Ambassador’s desk, as well as in phone lines..to other offices in the embassy’s political section. Another State Department source..[claimed] that the..transmitter was never turned on…” [pp125-126] The State Department, Brodeur says, had no authority over the embassy’s transmitter, nor could they know or reveal any details about the equipment. It was classified. And so, the Moscow Signal ends as a sort of cliffhanger with the spooky insinuation that the Americans in Moscow were irradiated by their own. Brodeur wrote, “conveniently..all of the blame for the irradiation of the embassy upon the Russians. However, there are..reasons for supposing that [the reports] may not be true… Whatever the legal resolutions,..since the Pandora meetings, the government and the military have systematically suppressed information about the genetic effects of microwaves in human beings…” [p134]
NOTE: current “safe” exposure is set by W.H.O. at 1 mW/cm2 (one milliwatt per square centimeter)
The original 10 mW/cm2 was adopted in 1955 following the recommendation of Herman P. Schwan , a “Paper Clip” biophysicist who had also worked for Siemens and Telefunken, recruited by the Navy in 1945 from the occupied Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Frankfurt.
Schwan’s NIH obituary (b.1915-d.2005): “..His letter to the U.S. Navy in 1953 propos[ed] a safe limit for human exposure to microwave energy of 100 W/m2 [100 Watts per square meter, or converted by the formula 1 W/m2=0.1mW/cm2 —a recommendation of 10 milliwatts per square centimeter]
Here’s a piece of Herman Schwan’s story:
Schwan: …”In March 1944 we experienced..[a] series of bombings that essentially wiped out Frankfurt. The damage was very very heavy… Curiously enough my apartment house did not suffer. I rented near I.G.Farben administrative headquarters… It was completely preserved.”
Q: “You’re saying the Allied forces purposely avoided bombing that?
Schwan: “Yes. Absolutely. It was clear… [Later, in the US] An executive with DuPont and General Motors offered me [an] interpretation… I was dating a friend of his daughter,[so] he invited me to [his] estate and offered to help me. He also invited the president of Sperry Gyroscope..to get me a job with Sperry. He told me that I.G. Farben and DuPont were heavily intertwined… DuPont owned fifty-one percent of the stock of I.G.Farben, and vice versa. He said to me, ‘We never had any intention to ruin our own headquarters in Germany. That’s our stuff.’ ..So, I don’t know. Anyhow, I didn’t suffer much..[but] just two blocks away there was unbelievable damage.
>>>In 1945 to 1947, the I.G.Farben building was the Supreme Headquarters for Allies Europe: the Frankfurt I.G. Farben building “was the largest office building in Europe…housing the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG)…[and]was also the headquarters of the CIA in Germany.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IG_Farben_Building
Q: “Was it possible to continue doing research…?
Schwan: “Our work suffered [toward the end of the war. After the Allied invasion]..I stayed at the institute a while..it was occupied by American soldiers…[Director, Boris] Rajewsky was gone so I had to take care of the institute… I rapidly received active support from the [US] military government. That proved to be important later… I succeeded in getting protection for the institute…
Q: “How did things go after that?
Schwan: “The university started functioning a year later… Rajewsky returned. He used his influence to introduce me to..some important heads of some banks in Frankfurt. He appointed me acting Director..since he was a [Nazi] Party Member, he could not act as..Director until..cleared… During that time, I received many visits from..scientists and technicians..[who] were primarily American, but also some British… they were very concerned about what was going on [at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biophysics]..since [it] was known for its..expertise in ionizing radiation fields…
Q: “It had been targeted because it was thought that it was a part of an atom bomb project?
Schwan: “Yes. I believe so… Rajewsky got major equipment installed. For example..a huge accelerator in a rather tall, new structure in Frankfurt….They [the Allies] must have noticed..and knew what expertise was there… Clearly that building was marked. It was hit and destroyed… I offered the Allies information about the high-frequency work, and the [submarine anti-radar material].
Q: “You wanted to cooperate fully?
Schwan: “Oh absolutely. Yes, I had been waiting for the Americans for a long time now… The anti-Nazis, of course, fully cooperated… As time advanced, other people came with biophysical backgrounds. For example, a lieutenant in the Navy, David Goldman..visited several times, and I talked with him. Some months later, perhaps as a consequence of those visits, I was offered the opportunity to come to [the US] under unusually favorable circumstances… so I accepted. That was in ’47. I came in late August..to the Naval Medical [Aeromedical] Equipment Laboratory in Philadelphia… Then to my surprise, several good things happened…The Navy informed me they would like me to work on some projects only part of the time..[and] I would have the privilege of..projects of my choice… I proposed to start a sweeping study of electric and acoustic properties of biological materials..[hoping] to extend the range of frequencies to much higher and much lower frequencies than ever used before… they promised me the opportunity to set up a long-range research program…. Well, I mentioned the Americans made me an offer with almost unbelievably favorable circumstances… As it turned out, I could practically write my own ticket… The majority..who came over under the so-called ‘Paper Clip Program’ were military scientists…most were technically oriented. So, the more basic scientists like myself were in a minority… I was [technically] on leave from the University of Frankfurt as a faculty member from 1947 to 1955”
The value of ‘gleaning’ from Schwan’s career work and recollections has a lot to offer in context; a couple of decades before WWII, another Goldman was facilitating high-energy pioneers –banker Henry Goldman, of Goldman Sachs, who was paying the physicist pair of friends, Max Born and Albert Einstein, out-of-pocket on his visits to Germany. Schwan was trained by Russians in Frankfurt– Boris Rajewsky having ultimately attained the directorship of the Biophysics Institute through a form of placement initiated by his communist friends, Alexander Janitsky and the Joliot-Curies in Paris. The Nazis imprisoned Rajewsky’s predecessor and promoted Rajewsky in his place –go figure– and Rajewsky then enfolded the institute into the Kaiser Wilhelm (KWG) network.
By the time Schwan wrote his microwave dosage recommendations in 1953 for the US Navy, the government had coincidently sanctioned “secret human experimentation” through the Secretary of Defense, Charles E. Wilson [the ‘Wilson Memorandum’], CEO of General Electric. Nelson Rockefeller had just become acting Secretary of Health [HEW], the weapons were going thermonuclear, and it was in this milieu that the Moscow Signal ostensibly began –unquestionably when it was most in the ideological interest of Americans to study biological effects.
Schwan said for himself, “When I was first approached about biophysics, I thought that you couldn’t mix physics with biological material. As I became aware of what was happening in electrophysiology and the ionizing radiation field, my ideas changed. I began to believe that we were now at the threshold of more to come… I wanted to do physics of biological objects. This seemed revolutionary to me. In other words, I was not..motivated to study effects of x-rays… I was not interested..in questions raised by medical people or biologists. I wanted to look.. with a physicist’s eye… Some of my early colleagues at the medical school at Pennsylvania claimed it to be heresy.”
“It is well known that electromagnetic fields cause mechanical forces
. If one applies an electrical field to a suspension of microscopic particles [i.e. metal colloids, metallorganic compounds, biological cell contents
], these particles realign themselves along the direction of the field and form pearl-chain-like aggregates. These chains are mostly single stranded but they are frequently multistranded. This phenomenon has been investigated by a number of groups. Here we discuss the dependence of threshold field strength on particle size and frequency. Also, pulsed fields have been thought to be more effective than continuous fields of the same average power in evoking biological effects.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1435134/
occurs in materials containing polar molecules having an electrical dipole moment
, with the consequence that they will align themselves in an electromagnetic field. If the field is oscillating, as it is in an electromagnetic wave or in a rapidly-oscillating electric field, these molecules rotate continuously aligning with it. This is called dipole rotation
. As the field alternates, the molecules reverse direction. Rotating molecules push, pull, and collide with other molecules
(or DEP) is a phenomenon in which a force
is exerted on a dielectric
particle when it is subjected to a non-uniform electric field… ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dielectrophoresis
; Dielectric materials are those which polarize
in the presence of an electric field.
“…fields of a particular frequency can manipulate particles with great selectivity. This has allowed, for example, the separation of cells or the orientation and manipulation of nanoparticles… Although the phenomenon we now call dielectrophoresis was described in passing as far back as the early 20th century, it was only subject to serious study, named and first understood by Herbert Pohl in the 1950s… biological cells have dielectric properties…”
watts in a name?
“Now swift the days of manhood haste away
And misery’s pressure turns the temples gray
The woman’s hands an ample casket bear–she lifts the lid–
she scatters ills in air” (Hesiod. 2nd century)
In Greek myth, Pandora was the “first woman”, made and sent by the gods to the brother of Prometheus, creator of man
kind. Prometheus and his brothers were the Titans of legend, punished for rebelling and endowing humans with knowledge and technology. The infamous Box, held in safekeeping by Epimetheus, contained all the undesired
commodities available on earth –plague, pestilence, vanity, greed, etc. It was Epimetheus’s beguiling and curious new companion who freed them from their jar, all except Hope which remained; the last undesirable left sequestered by the ancients.
Appreciation for Promethean tales goes a long way in describing the interaction of modern titans and weapons systems, both physical and psychological. It was the Rockefellers, after all, who centered their first premier building project around “Radio City” and erected a golden Prometheus to rule over it.
At the end of Pandora’s operational years, a symposium was held in Richmond VA at the Virginia Medical College, an institution largely owing its existence to Robert E. Lee’s chief surgeon, Simon Baruch, father of the financier Bernard Baruch
. The September 1969 meeting “marked a long overdue turning point in the general attitutde of American scientists”
according to Paul Brodeur –the ‘turning point’ resulting in a general call for research and funding– but it was also an enduring demarcation of “battle lines”. A notable quote in Zapping
states, “At the Richmond symposium, Dr. [Lawrence] Sher objected strongly to the use of the term ‘flaccid paralysis’ to describe the limp and unmoving condition of rats that had been exposed to four and six-tenths [4.6] milliwatts per square centimeter”
[p121] Lawrence Sher was a Project Pandora advisory member and ‘flaccid paralysis’ had already been assigned as a new designation for polio. (It’s still the same today ; associated with encephalitis, meningitis, West Nile, “a severe asymmetric process affecting anterior horn cells and/or their axons” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5137a1.htm
) Battle lines had everything to do with preserving tenuous victories. Not even Paul Brodeur ventured beyond the designated language.
Egyptian auditorium, Richmond, built 1845
Baruch Auditorium: “The building has been compared to the Temple of Horus
… At Founders’ Day exercises held at the Egyptian Building, 5 December 1940, historian Dr. Wyndham Blanton commented to alumni and guests:”What old Nassau Hall is to Princeton, what the Wren Building is to William and Mary, what the Rotunda is to the University of Virginia, the Egyptian Building is to the Medical College of Virginia. It is a shrine, a sanctuary of tradition, the physical embodiment of our genius. It is a spiritual heritage
…And so, the Richmond symposium can join the roster of services as another high mass in the temples of science, which symbolically precludes a military
Incidently, Admiral Lewis Strauss (formerly of Kuhn Loeb &Co) and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission was a major fundraiser for the Medical College of Virginia, as well as a board trustee.
Had Paul Brodeur made the essential connection for his readers that flaccid paralysis
by another name, the public might have paid better attention to his arguments and learned that polio is a radiation disease. Possibly he didn’t know it himself, but the familiar and near-recent campaign of the Salk vaccine, funded by the March of Dimes, that had repurposed its mission to birth defects, was foreshadowing the shape of things to come.
He wrote, “Anxiety about the genetic effects of microwaves first came out into the open in December 1971, when the Electromagnetic Radiation Management Advisory Council..warned that ‘the consequences of undervaluing or misjudging the biological effects..could become a critical problem for the public health, especially if genetic effects are involved.’” [p132] The Council “knew from data presented at the Richmond symposium of 1969 that microwave radiation had induced chromosomal abnormalities in kangaroo-rat cell cultures, and that the researchers who conducted these studies had found that ‘the types of chromosome aberrations observed..are the same as those induced by ionizing radiation in other organisms including humans.’ At least one of its members [Herbert Pollack] knew about the secret tests for genetic damge that the State Department had been running on its Moscow employees. As for the genetic problem, the official minutes of the Project Pandora meeting of April 21, 1969 are revealing. For one thing, they clearly show that..DARPA was aware of the implications of the five-year-old findings of Dr. [Abraham] Lilienfeld –that ’18 out of 25 mongoloid children had fathers who had been exposed to radar’…it is the following paragraph, from the minutes of the April 1969 meeting, which consitutes the ‘smoking gun’ of the State Department’s genetic cover-up: ‘Dr. Pollack reported the studies of Dr. Jacobson at George Washington University who has studied young women returning from [the] embassy in Moscow… [of]One hundred and forty blood samples..examined over a four-year period…Four of them reportedly showed serious chromosomal abnormalities.’ “ [p133]
The women victims of the Moscow Signal were having their blood taken by Dr. Cecil Bryan Jacobson, a reproductive geneticist who later opened an infertility clinic in Vienna Virginia. Pandora’s Dr. Jacobson ascended to national infamy in 1992 when he was convicted of 52 charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and perjury, conducted through his business.
Most people will remember Jacobson for claiming to have fathered 75 children among his clinical patients. “Blood work” was obviously not his specialty, and all we can really know about the Project is that it didn’t end in 1969.
“Dr. Jacobson..used hormone injections to create symptoms resembling pregnancy. With many patients he pointed out an insignificant image on a sonogram and told the patient that it was the image of a fetus. When he finally had to tell the women they were not pregnant, he told them their babies were dead and that the fetuses would “resorb” back into the bodies. Then he could begin a new round of hormone injections and pregnancy tests… Dr. Jacobson had mailed fraudulent insurance claims and bills… Jacobson also had committed wire fraud by phoning his patients to schedule appointments for fraudulent treatments.” http://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/08/us/conviction-upheld-in-fertility-case.html
; this while he “operated a fertility clinic in Vienna, Va., from 1976 to 1988
” just as news of the Moscow Signal went public.
Project Pandora, 1962-1966 source document from Johns Hopkins notes the use of 2.4 GHz
(then standard for radar and current
for microwave ovens and tag-reader devices) in irradiation experiments on rabbits. Other signal descriptions offer the range of frequencies beween 2 and 4 GHz and FM (modulated) dual signals. An historical note is added that “The term Project Bizarre
is not a separate project but was a code name for a special access category within the Pandora Project.” http://servv89pn0aj.sn.sourcedns.com/~gbpprorg/mil/cavity/Project_PANDORA.pdf