Havana Syndrome: mysterious illness among US diplomats was caused by Russian weapon, say newspapersHavana Syndrome: mysterious illness among US diplomats was caused by Russian weapon, say newspapers

(DEFESANet) The mysterious symptoms of the so-called Havana Syndrome, reported by US diplomats in several countries in recent years, were caused by a Russian intelligence unit, according to a joint investigation by several newspapers published on Monday.

The condition was first reported in 2016, when employees of the US embassy in the Cuban capital fell ill and claimed to have heard high-pitched sounds during the night. The symptoms – which include dizziness, headaches, difficulty concentrating and an intense, painful sound in the ears – sparked speculation about a possible sonic weapon attack by a foreign entity.

The newspapers The Insider, Der Spiegel and the American CBS program “60 Minutes” stated in their investigation that there is evidence to suggest that Havana Syndrome is caused by “the use of directed energy weapons used by members of unit 29155 [of Russia’s Central Intelligence Department, known by the acronym GRU]”.

The Russian unit is known for conducting operations abroad and has been blamed for numerous international incidents, including the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in the UK in 2018.

In response, Moscow assured on Monday that the report’s conclusions are “unfounded”.

  • This has been talked about in the press for many years. And from the very beginning, most of the time it has been linked to the Russian side,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a press conference. – ‘But no one has published any convincing evidence, so this is all just an unfounded and baseless accusation.

Washington closed its immigration office in Havana in 2018 due to a change in US policy towards Cuba and the fear that the syndrome generated among diplomats in the country.

In 2022, US intelligence claimed that intense energy from an external source could have caused some of these symptoms, officially known as anomalous health incidents (AHI).

However, the country’s intelligence agencies concluded in March of the following year that “there was no credible evidence that a foreign adversary has a weapon or collection device that is causing AHI”.

In his daily press briefing, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller declined to comment on the investigation, but said on Monday that the government and intelligence agencies continue to consider it unlikely that a rival nation, such as Russia, is linked to the phenomenon.

In August 2023, Washington announced the reopening of its immigration office in Havana.

The news outlets’ year-long investigation suggests that the cases reported in Havana were not the first of this syndrome:

“It is likely that there had been attacks two years earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, when a US government employee at the consulate was knocked unconscious by something resembling a strong bolt of energy.”

The New Yorker magazine reported in July 2021 that around 24 intelligence agents, diplomats and other US officials in Austria have reported problems similar to Havana Syndrome since US President Joe Biden took office that same year.

In all, there are more than a thousand reports of the disease, with dozens of cases still considered unexplained. US congressmen have passed legislation aimed at supporting the victims.

A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study published last month said that MRI scans failed to detect evidence of brain damage in dozens of US officials who reported AHIs.

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