A new report of the National Academy of Sciences found that “directed” radiofrequency energy was the most plausible explanation for the mysterious and debilitating neurological symptoms experienced by dozens of U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials in Cuba, China and in other countries from the end of 2016.
The report commissioned by the State Department, reviewed by a number of reporters – including at NBC News and the New York Times – fails to reach definitive conclusions about the origins and nature of the affliction often referred to as ‘Havana Syndrome’, but its account lends weight to theories that illnesses are the result of deliberate attacks – that some members intelligence community suspect were carried out by Russia.
The symptoms experienced by people with Havana Syndrome vary, but in the cases reported, many have had nausea, headaches, dizziness, and hearing loss. These illnesses were sometimes so severe and persistent that they caused civil servants to retire prematurely.
Like the New York Times Explain, the language of the report suggests that an intentional attack was behind the strange symptoms, and that they were caused by radio frequency energy – a kind of radiation that includes microwaves – as it describes the attacks as “directed. “And” pulsed “. However, the report states that the National Academy of Sciences “cannot rule out other possible mechanisms and considers it likely that a multiplicity of factors explains some cases and the differences between others.”
The report concludes that “the biggest problem is preparing for new and unknown threats that could compromise the health and safety of US diplomats serving overseas,” and notes that future cases could be “even more difficult to recognize. quickly ”, at least in part because attacks could be more widely spaced or used in a more targeted manner.
“These injuries tormented those affected. Their illnesses and suffering are real and demand action from Congress ”. tweeted Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who has successfully led calls for the full report to be submitted to Congress for consideration. “To begin with, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should hold a hearing on this matter as soon as possible so that we can hear the secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo directly on what is being done to uncover the source of these attacks and protect our officials.
Havana Syndrome speculation has continued for years
From Cuba in November 2016, more than a dozen American diplomats reported feeling sick with mysterious and serious symptoms like hearing loss and loss of balance. Soon after, experts began to speculate that they may have been attacked by a sonic weapon used by Cuban intelligence.
Similar sets of symptoms have appeared in other places as well. Americans at the US Consulate in Guangzhou, China developed symptoms of Havana Syndrome in 2017. Like GQ and the New York Times reported, last year a number of new incidents were reported by CIA agents in Europe and Asia.
The timeline of the incidents, the plausible explanation for the microwave weapons, and the specific locations where they occurred have raised the question of whether Russia is behind them.
In 2018, US intelligence officials describes Russia as the prime suspect behind what they believed to be attacks in Cuba and China. Russia has denied any involvement. NBC News reports that, now or then, no conclusive intelligence has pointed to this explanation. However, The Times notes that a number of Russian CIA experts believe all the evidence points to the country as the source of the diseases.
Yet concrete evidence remains elusive; To compile the new report, experts assessed the plausibility of the various explanations, using limited evidence and informed guesswork based on expertise.
And like time reports, these and other national security experts have pointed out that Russia, as well as the former Soviet Union, are used to working with microwave weapons – and using them against the United States. :
the [National Academy of Sciences] The report does not name an author, although it mentions “important research in Russia / USSR” on pulsed radio frequency technology, as well as on the exposure of military personnel in Eurasian Communist countries to microwave radiation. The soviet union bombed the American Embassy in Moscow with microwaves in the 70s and 80s. In a 2014 document, the National Security Agency discussed a microwave weapon used by a hostile country, which sources familiar with the document said was Russia.
NBC News reports that a source said the CIA used location data from cellphones to determine that some Russian intelligence operatives involved in microwave weapons programs were present in cities at the time the agents of the CIA were beginning to suffer from the symptoms of Havana Syndrome.
Some U.S. staff with Havana Syndrome have reported anger and frustration, saying their own government has done far too little to meet their health care needs and to investigate the origins of their problems. health.
For example, Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA secret agent who was struck by symptoms corresponding to Havana Syndrome in Moscow in 2017, said the CIA did not take sufficient care of him and other officers. wounded from the CIA.
“It is their responsibility to provide the medical aid we need, which does not mean that we are all inventing”, he told GQ. “I want the Agency to treat this as a combat injury.”
Mark Lenzi, a diplomatic security officer who has shown symptoms in China, told the Times he believes the Trump administration overlooked “troublesome scientific and medical facts” in its assessment of the situation.
For advocates of these officials, there is now hope that the new report, which provides the clearest estimate of what may have happened to date, could put increased pressure on agencies to act. ‘take more care of their injured personnel. And this is seen as an important first step in solving the mystery of what happened to these officials once and for all.