Geopolitics

Finally, a little more science could explain these mysterious “microwave attacks” on US diplomats

The U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on December 18, 2018.Emily Michot / TNS via ZUMA Wire

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A team of experts advising the government has partially explained what is known as Havana Syndrome, the mysterious neurological disorder that has afflicted US spies and State Department officials in Cuba, China and elsewhere since 2016.

A new 77-page report by a committee of 19 experts was issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs. It concludes that “directional, pulsed radio frequency energy” is “the most plausible mechanism” for the disease reported by government personnel.

The victims of these attacks – it is not clear how many people were affected – have suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance. Some have recovered while others have been forced to take early retirement.

The report found that U.S. personnel stationed in Havana in 2016 and Guangzhou, China were deliberately attacked in 2017 with a secret weapon using technology that U.S. authorities do not fully understand.

“In some of these patients, their case began with the sudden onset of a loud sound perceived as a directional feature, accompanied by pain in one or both ears or over a large area of ​​the head, and in some cases a sensation of head pressure or vibration, Dizziness, followed in some cases by tinnitus, blurred vision, dizziness and cognitive difficulties, ”the report said.

This condition is also new: “This set of clinical features is different from any disorder in the neurological or general medical literature,” wrote David Relman, a Standford microbiologist who chaired the committee.

The report notes that US officials described various incidents and differences in symptoms, leaving open the possibility that “psychological and social factors” were also involved.

Intelligence officials quoted in GQ Magazine, the New York Times and NBC News suspect that Russian intelligence agents were behind the attacks. CIA officers traveling to discuss the fight against covert operations in Russia with foreign authorities were among the Americans attacked, according to these reports. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry has described these allegations as “absolutely absurd and bizarre”.

The new report does not speculate on who might have carried out the attacks. However, it should be noted that in Russia / the USSR, “significant research has been carried out on the effects of pulsed waves rather than continuous waves [radiofrequency] Exposures. “

The report is the US government’s most comprehensive assessment of the syndrome that has said little publicly on the subject. Some victims have blamed the Trump administration on allegations of inaction, including an initial failure by federal authorities to grant leave and provide other assistance. Those affected have pointed out that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not speak about the apparent attacks on US personnel because of Trump’s deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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