WASHINGTON, DC, July 20 — The mysterious ailment that took down U.S. Embassy workers in 2016 is making a comeback. It was reported over the weekend that some 24 U.S. diplomats stationed in Vienna have shown the distinctive symptoms of what has been dubbed the Havana Syndrome. The government refers to the symptoms as “anomalous health incidents” or “unexplained health incidents.” They include pulsating pressure, stabbing noise, pain, nausea, and dizziness.
According to the New Yorker Magazine that broke the story of the latest outbreak of the Havana Syndrome in Austria, “Specialists at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair used advanced MRIs to study the brains of forty of the original patients from Havana. They found no signs of physical impact to the patients’ skulls—it was as if they had a concussion without a concussion’ … and the team detected signs of damage to their brains.”
It has been pointed out that it is unlikely the Havana Syndrome is caused by some naturally occurring infection; the 130 U.S. cases on the record to date since 2016 involved American diplomats, embassy workers, and military personnel. In addition, numbers of Canadian diplomatic workers have also been taken ill.
In addition to the outbreaks in Cuba, Austria, and elsewhere, incidents of the Havana Syndrome have also been documented in the U.S.
Two National Security Council staffers were apparently stricken with the illness near the White House this past April.
And, according to an account at the WebMD online site, the ailment may date back to 1996 when a National Security Agency operative was affected while working in a classified hostile country back in 1996.
“Multiple hypotheses and mechanisms have been proposed to explain these clinical cases, but evidence has been lacking, no hypothesis has been proven, and the circumstances remain unclear,” says the National Academy of Sciences
James Giordano is a professor of neurology and ethics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington. He’s also a senior fellow at the U.S. Naval War College. He was brought in on the 2016 investigation of the original Havana Syndrome illnesses, and he says that both Russia and China are known to have been experimenting with so-called “directed energy devices,” what some might call ray guns.
It’s a controversial theory but one that is supported by science, according to James C. Lin, professor emeritus in the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Illinois. There are those that say such a weapon able to target a victim with pinpoint accuracy is not feasible because it would be too bulky.
But, in a paper, Lin wrote for the scientific Journal of Electromagnetics, R.F., and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology, he asserts that, indeed, a “directed energy weapon,” as he put it, is viable and need not be as unwieldy as some might believe.
Says Lin, “You can certainly put together a system in a couple of big suitcases that will allow you to put it in a van or an SUV.
It’s not something that you need to have enormous amounts of space or equipment to do it.”
In fact, the U.S. has invested in researching the use of microwave weaponry in order to keep pace with the technology. Lev Sadovnik was CEO of the WaveBand Corporation, which conducted the research, confirms the feasibility of a portable microwave weapon.
However, there are those that believe many, if not all, of the incidents described as attacks with microwave weapons, are psychosomatic in nature. Giordano and his colleagues are not dismissive of these theories. As you might expect, the publicity the attacks continue to receive can convince some suggestive individuals to blame a gnawing headache as being the result of being shot with a microwave weapon.
However, the outbreak of Havana Syndrome with such specificity and particularly invasive results cannot be easily dismissed by chalking it up to hypochondria.