October 27 2020 — Last spring, the US State Department requested the National Academy of Sciences to undertake a full review of the Havana Syndrome. The committee submitted its report to the State Department in early August. So far, the report has not been released to lawmakers. Why on Earth not? I can tell you this much. The National Academy of Sciences Committee has taken very seriously the hypothesis suggested by this blogger. UPDATE — The NAS report was finally released on December 5 2020. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Three Years Ago — US Spies & the Havana Syndrome
UPDATE (December 7 2020) — The report by the National Academies of Sciences is finally available. The committee has concluded that microwave exposure is the most plausible mechanism in explaining the Havana Syndrome.
“Government personnel and their families at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, in late 2016 and the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China, in early 2017 began suffering from a range of unusual — and in some cases suddenly occurring — symptoms such as a perceived loud noise, ear pain, intense head pressure or vibration, dizziness, visual problems, and cognitive difficulties, and many still continue to experience these or other health problems.
As part of its effort to ascertain potential causes of the illnesses, inform government employees more effectively about health risks at posts abroad, and determine best medical practices for screening, prevention, and treatment for both short- and long-term health problems, the U.S. Department of State asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide advice. After undergoing a security review, the National Academies’ report is now available.
In examining plausible causes of these illnesses, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report considered the possibilities of directed, pulsed radio frequency energy, chemical exposures, infectious diseases such as Zika, and psychological issues.
An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies says that among the mechanisms the committee considered, directed, pulsed radio frequency energy appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases, especially in individuals with the distinct early symptoms.”
“The committee found these cases quite concerning, in part because of the plausible role of directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy as a mechanism, but also because of the significant suffering and debility that has occurred in some of these individuals,” said committee chair David Relman, Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in Medicine, professor of microbiology and immunology, and senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.
“We as a nation need to address these specific cases as well as the possibility of future cases with a concerted, coordinated, and comprehensive approach.”
Here is a quick press review. I will provide my comments on both the NAS report and these articles ASAP. Stay tuned!
Although the report does not attribute blame, the BBC lost no time in finding their favorite culprit.
Research into the effects of pulsed radio frequency energy was carried out by the Soviet Union more than 50 years ago.
There had been “significant research in Russia/USSR into the effects of pulsed, rather than continuous wave [radio frequency] exposures”.
Military personnel in “Eurasian communist countries” had been exposed to non-thermal radiation.
Let me remind you that the US Intelligence Community concluded that there is no conclusive intelligence pointing to Russia as the culprit.
Researchers did not identify the source of the energy – nor a possible culprit – but they said western and Soviet studies going back decades offered “circumstantial support for this possible mechanism”.
A government-commissioned report provides the most definitive explanation yet for “Havana syndrome,” which struck scores of American employees, first in Cuba and then in China, Russia and other countries.
The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as “the most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome
Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.
The question of Moscow’s possible culpability is a thorny one, given the sensitivities around President Trump on any matters involving Russia or President Vladimir V. Putin. Moscow has denied any role, and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, has not concluded the Kremlin was responsible. But some C.I.A. analysts who are Russia experts, diplomats and scientists contend that evidence points to Moscow, which has a long history of experimenting with the technology.
The report was commissioned by the U.S. State Department and represents the latest attempt to explain the mysterious illness known as Havana syndrome that started causing headaches, dizziness and cognitive problems in U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba.
“Studies published in the open literature more than a half century ago and over the subsequent decades by Western and Soviet sources provide circumstantial support for this possible mechanism,” it later adds.
Yet the report makes no such assertions on what happened to the Canadians. It instead leaves open the possibility that their illnesses were caused by a viral infection, exposure to a toxic chemical or some other factor.
Paul Miller, the lawyer representing the Canadian diplomats suing the government, says that is because there are several errors in the report. That includes an assertion the Canadians did not experience the same sudden pain and loud noise as their U.S. counterparts.
“To suggest in any way that our clients did not have the perception of loud sounds or a sensation of intense pressure or vibration is just incorrect,” Miller told The Canadian Press on Sunday.
The ‘Havana Syndrome’ has been somewhat of an enigma to scientists and government officials since it was first identified in 2016.
The illness, which causes a wide array of painful symptoms, was first reported by a US diplomat based in Cuba.
In 2017, little was known about the cause of the Havana Syndrome but President Donald Trump used a Rose Garden press conference to accuse Cuba of carrying out “sonic attacks.”
Cuban officials denied this and called the allegations “science fiction” and “slander.”
The committee did not address whether the cause was intentional, who might have been responsible or what the motive might have been.
However, there has been no shortage of speculation. Perhaps the intent was to injure the diplomats. Or maybe the aim was to electronically steal secrets from their phones and computers, and the officials were just collateral damage.
REUTERS — ‘Havana syndrome’ likely due to ‘directed’ radio frequency
UPDATE (December 6 2020) — The long-awaited report by the National Academies of Sciences has concluded that the mysterious neurological symptoms experienced by American diplomats in Cuba were caused by pulsed microwave energy.
The study examined four possibilities to explain the symptoms: Infection, chemicals, psychological factors and microwave energy.
Speculation that Us and Canadian diplomats might have simply suffered from mass hysteria was dismissed.
Over the years, investigators have considered the possibility that sound waves, toxins or other mechanisms could have been involved. No evidence ever emerged to support those theories.
“Overall, directed pulsed RF energy … appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered.”
The report recommends that the State Department establish a response mechanism for similar incidents that allows new cases to be studied more quickly and effectively.
Contrary to early rumors, there is no conclusive intelligence pointing to Russia as the culprit.
The US State Department no longer use the word “attacks” when talking about the Havana Syndrome. The CIA does not wish to comment on the NAS report.
END of UPDATE
On October 3 2017, I coined the expression “Havana Syndrome”. The expression is now universally used, both by the media and the research community. A Google search of the expression “Havana Syndrome” brings about 3.5 million results!
Why did I coin the expression “Havana Syndrome” and what does it mean?
As soon as I heard about this rather unusual saga, I immediately made a connection between the Havana attacks and the old story of the Microwave Syndrome, thus the conflation Havana Syndrome.
I understand that a study conducted by the US National Academy of Sciences has recently reached the same conclusion.
The US National Academy of Sciences convened neurologists, experts in electrical engineering, toxicologists, and epidemiologists.
The people I interviewed are among the experts convened by the Academy.
First thing first — This thing is real
Some people have suggested that US diplomats suffered from mass hysteria. As I explained long ago, this is nonsense.
The symptoms experienced by the diplomats could not have been feigned.
Dr. David Relman, the Stanford professor who chaired the study, is not allowed to reveal the findings of the study but he made that point very clear in a recent interview with NPR.
“A number of people here were grievously harmed and are suffering still. So I think this is a really important issue,” Dr Relman said.
What is the cause?
Once they had ruled out “mass psychogenic illness”, the US National Academy of Sciences Committee reviewed three possible explanations for the health effects: Sonic attacks, toxins and microwave exposure.
Not surprisingly, the Committee ruled out Sonic attacks and toxins.
They found microwave exposure to be the most plausible explanation.
One is of course left wondering why the report was not released to US lawmakers?
Perhaps, this is a good time to go back and look at the predictions I made three years ago.
PS — On October 26 2020, the Washington Post Editorial Board voiced its support for Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) efforts to get access to the Relman’s report.
“The time has come for more openness from the U.S. government — and more help for public servants injured in the line of duty. (…)
The cause of the attacks is unknown, but attention has focused on some sort of directed energy device, such as a microwave. (…)
This mystery could — and should — be less mysterious. Congress must have the Relman report and should make it public.
That is the first of many steps still needed to identify the perpetrators, protect Americans abroad and respond properly.”
What’s Behind the Mysterious Illness of U.S. Diplomats and Spies? — Foreign Policy
Canadian officials warned staff bound for Cuba to stay silent on ‘Havana syndrome’ — Global News
HAVANA SYNDROME — Where is the US National Academy of Sciences Report?
HAVANA SYNDROME — Where is the US National Academy of Sciences Report? [UPDATE : Press Review]