Rome, 21 September 2021 – The Havana syndrome hit again. The latest incident of the mysterious disease that strikes diplomats and Amarican spies and Canadian diplomats around the world involved this time a member of the delegation who in recent weeks accompanied the head of the CIA, Bill Burns, in India. The US intelligence official exhibited some of the now known symptoms – headache, nausea, hearing loss – of the syndrome that first manifested itself among American diplomats in Cuba between the end of 2016 and June 2018. Subsequently other episodes had been recorded in China, Russia, Poland, Georgia, Germany, Austria, Australia, Colombia, Kighizistan, Uzbekistan, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as in Washington. Overall, it is estimated that there were about 130 attacks.
Burns’ co-worker fell ill during a secret journey in India and it seems that Burns was furious to discover that not even the top intelligence who participate in theoretically “covered” missions are safe from the mysterious malaise. In August, some cases had been reported in the American embassy of Berlin. In the past week, the trip to Vietnam of the vice president Kamala Harris because several members of the delegation had complained of being sick. It is estimated that, in the past five years, about 200 US officials or their families have fallen ill, more or less seriously.
At the request of the U.S. government, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined 21 affected diplomats, and preliminary results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in March 2018. The report “found no evidence of white matter tract abnormalities” in the affected diplomats, other than what could be seen in a control group of the same age, and described “a new syndrome. in diplomats it resembles persistent concussion. ” The study concluded that “the diplomats appear to have suffered injuries to the nervous and brain systemsSubsequent studies by the University of Pennsylvania team, published in July 2019, found that, compared to a healthy control group, diplomats who had sustained injuries “had suffered brain trauma.”
Havana syndrome: what are the causes?
But caused by what? Here the theories are different.
In a 2018 interview, Douglas H. Smith, a co-author of the JAMA study, said that microwaves were “considered a prime suspect“behind the phenomenon. A 2018 study published in the journal Neural Computation by Beatrice Alexandra Golomb rejected the idea that a sonic attack was the source of the symptoms and concluded that the facts were consistent with thepulsed radio frequency / microwave (RF / MW) exposure. Golomb wrote that the nature of the noises the diplomats reported was consistent with the sounds caused by pulsed RF / MW. The signs and symptoms the diplomats reported correspond to the symptoms of exposure to RF / MW (problems with sleep, cognition, vision, balance, speech; headache; sensations of pressure or vibration; nosebleeds; brain injury and swelling of the brain).
In March 2018, Kevin Fu and a team of computer scientists at the University of Michigan instead argued that ultrasound – specifically, the intermodulation distortion from multiple ultrasonic signals inaudible – from malfunctioning or improperly positioned Cuban surveillance equipment may have been the source of the reported sounds.
A 2019 study commissioned by Global Affairs Canada of 23 Canadian diplomats exposed, completed in May 2019, found “clinical, imaging and biochemical evidence consistent with the hypothesis” of overexposure to cholinesterase inhibitors (a class of neurotoxic pesticides) as pyrethroids and organophosphates (OPs) as a cause of brain injury; embassies and other places in Cuba had been sprayed frequently as a mosquito control measure of the anti-Zika virus. However, the study concluded that other possible causes could not be excluded. The 2020 National Academies study found that “acute high-level exposure to OP and / or pyrethroids contributed” to the disease was unlikely, due to a lack of evidence of exposure to such pesticides or clinical histories consistent with that. exposure, but the study committee “could not rule out the possibility, albeit mild, that exposure to insecticides, particularly OP, increased susceptibility to the triggering factor or factors that caused the embassy staff cases.
The US State Department said in February 2021 that the ongoing investigation was “a ‘high priority“for the department. Quoting unnamed intelligence and government officials, the New York Times reported in July 2021 that the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the director of National Intelligence have set up two external commissionsone to investigate potential causes and the other to develop defensive countermeasures for personnel protection.
Many suspect that the attacks were carried out by Russian agents. The Russia has a history of research, development and use of weapons that cause brain injury, such as the Cold War-era “Moscow Signal” that targeted the US embassy in Moscow. A 2014 NSA report raised suspicion that Russia used a microwave weapon to hit a person’s home, causing nerve damage.
In May 2021, the weekly New Yorker reported that the US government’s “working hypothesis” was that the agents of the GRU “they aimed devices capable of sending microwave radiation beams on US officials to gather information from their computers and cell phones, and that these devices can cause serious harm to people who have been targeted. ” Collateral damages, so.
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