Havana Syndrome

 I swear, I can’t hear well. Photo: Osval, Granma

“Havana Syndrome” came out as an accusation, first, against Cuba, and then, against Russia.

Now, the CIA has found the fact: No hostile power, no foreign enemy was involved with the so-called Havana Syndrome.

A report by NBC News – CIA says ‘Havana Syndrome’ not result of sustained global campaign by hostile power (January 20, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/cia-says-havana-syndrome-not-result-sustained-global-campaign-hostile-rcna12838) – said:

‘In a new intelligence assessment, the CIA has ruled out that the mysterious symptoms known as Havana Syndrome are the result of a sustained global campaign by a hostile power aimed at hundreds of U.S. diplomats and spies, six people briefed on the matter told NBC News.

‘In about two dozen cases, the agency cannot rule out foreign involvement, including many of the cases that originated at the U.S. Embassy in Havana beginning in 2016. Another group of cases is considered unresolved. But in hundreds of other cases of possible symptoms, the agency has found plausible alternative explanations, the sources said.

‘The CIA declined to comment.

‘The idea that widespread brain injury symptoms have been caused by Russia or another foreign power targeting Americans around the world, either to harm them or to collect intelligence, has been deemed unfounded, the sources said.’

The report said:

‘There is an intensive intelligence gathering and analytical effort to resolve those cases, officials said.

‘Starting in late 2016, U.S. diplomats and spies serving in Cuba began reporting bizarre sounds and sensations followed by unexplained illnesses and symptoms, including hearing and vision loss, memory and balance problems, headaches and nausea.

‘Over the years, many hundreds of U.S. officials have come forward reporting suspected incidents in more than a dozen countries, NBC News has reported.

‘NBC News reported in 2018 that U.S. intelligence officials considered Russia a leading suspect in what some of them assessed to have been deliberate attacks on diplomats and CIA officers overseas. But in the three years since then, the spy agencies have not uncovered enough evidence to pinpoint the cause or the culprit of the health incidents.

‘The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a report in 2020 that some of the observed brain injuries were consistent with the effects of directed microwave energy, which the report said Russia has long studied.

‘Russia has consistently denied any involvement.

‘A team of medical and scientific experts who studied the symptoms of as many as 40 State Department and other government employees concluded that nothing like them had previously been documented in medical literature, the National Academies of Sciences report said. Many reported hearing a loud sound and feeling pressure in their heads and then experiencing dizziness, unsteady gait and visual disturbances. Many suffered long-standing debilitating effects.

‘U.S. officials have long said they cannot say for sure that they were intentional attacks or even that they were the result of human activity.

‘But privately, CIA Director William Burns had referred to the incidents as attacks. One of Burns’ aides suffered symptoms during a trip to New Delhi in 2020.

‘Nonetheless, Burns and the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, have endorsed the findings, the sources said.

‘The State Department had no immediate comment Tuesday.’

A report by CBS News (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/havana-syndrome-cia-task-force-rules-out-foreign-attacks/) said:

‘The Central Intelligence Agency has issued a set of interim findings on hundreds of reported cases of the mysterious neurological illness known as “Havana Syndrome,” ruling out in the “majority” of instances an attack by a foreign adversary, but vowing to intensify its focus on a group of two dozen “priority” cases that remain unexplained.    “We assess that the majority of reports of [anomalous health incidents] can be reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors, including previously undiagnosed illnesses,” a senior CIA official said, using the term coined by the Biden administration to describe the incidents.

‘Summarizing the findings of an internal CIA task force dedicated to investigating the cases, the official said, “In this extensive investigation we have so far not found evidence of state-actor involvement in any incident,” adding, “[W]e assess it unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, is conducting a sustained, worldwide campaign, harming U.S. personnel with a weapon or mechanism.”

‘However, the official emphasized, the agency’s task force would continue investigating a small number of cases whose cause could not be determined. In those cases, the official said, the CIA has still “not ruled out the involvement of a foreign actor.”

‘”There is a subset of cases, some of our toughest cases, that remain unresolved and remain the focus of active investigation,” the official said, confirming they involved U.S. personnel from the CIA and other government agencies, but declining to specify where or when those incidents had occurred.’

The report said:

‘The incidents first gained prominence after they were reported by personnel at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.  There has since been a stream of reports made by American diplomats, intelligence officers and military personnel stationed or traveling in countries worldwide — including Austria, Colombia, Germany, Serbia, India, Vietnam and others — many of which resulted in victims being medevaced to the U.S. for medical treatment.  There have also been cases reported on U.S. soil, including in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Boston.  In 2020, a study by the National Academies of Sciences commissioned by the State Department said the “most plausible” cause was “directed, pulsed, radiofrequency energy.”

‘That study, alongside other evidence circulated by current and former American officials, fueled unofficial hypotheses that the cases were the result of attempted intelligence collection by Russian or other government operatives who were using directed energy technologies or weapons.’

The report said:

‘Moscow has consistently denied involvement in the incidents, and no evidence has emerged publicly tying Russia to the illness.’

It said:

‘As part of its efforts, the Biden administration and the agencies with personnel who have been affected encouraged employees to report health incidents they suspected might be linked to Havana Syndrome.  The result was a significant influx of reports, many of which CIA officials acknowledged may have been made out of an “abundance of caution” and out of a growing awareness about the incidents among government employees.  Over time, the drumbeat of reports began to resonate among the workforces at the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, whose employees were most often involved. Unease about the cause of the symptoms and concerns about several incidents that involved family members and children led some employees considering deployment overseas to waver, according to people familiar with the discussions.   The continuing reports also prompted rare bipartisan action from Congress, which unanimously passed legislation, signed into law by President Biden last fall, designed to boost compensation and access to medical care for victims with confirmed brain injuries.’

The report said:

“CIA officials who briefed reporters on the agency’s interim findings said there was “community agreement” across U.S. intelligence agencies that there was no evidence of a global campaign being waged by a foreign actor, though some intelligence agencies had differing confidence levels in that assessment. They also said the task force had worked closely with other U.S. and foreign government partners in looking into the matter.  The National Security Council referred questions about the CIA’s findings and process back to the agency.   The officials noted that there were no common characteristics among the unexplained cases, which complicated efforts to understand their cause.’


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