What is Havana syndrome, the mysterious illness ravaging the US intel community

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The mysterious sickness generally known as Havana Syndrome first appeared in late 2016 when over a dozen American and Canadian officers figuring out of Havana, Cuba started to hear grating noises and really feel odd sensations of strain out of their ears.

The weird noises have been solely a harbinger of the extra severe bodily illnesses about to plague the intelligence officers.

Lots of them shortly started to endure unusual signs corresponding to reminiscence loss, nausea, dizziness, listening to loss, complications, ear ache, and extra.

Now, simply shy of eight years later, there have been over 1,500 cases reported from dozens of nations. The intelligence group is perplexed about this phenomenon which has shortened the careers of proficient personnel and racked up important medical bills.

The US Embassy in Cuba is the place stories first emerged of suspicious circumstances that led to the ailment. TNS

Others, nevertheless, are convinced the syndrome is just not actual and sure stems from psychosomatic points.

Over the weekend, Havana Syndrome was as soon as once more thrust into the highlight with a bombshell “60 Minutes” report that presented evidence the Kremlin might be behind the thriller ailment.

What’s Havana Syndrome?

Havana Syndrome is the title of the enigmatic ailment that has bothered lots of of US navy, intelligence, and diplomatic personnel since late 2016. It has additionally been dubbed “Anomalous Well being Incidents” inside the intelligence group.

Experiences with the situation differ from individual to individual. Some recall listening to grating noises earlier than struggling signs, others don’t. Moreover, a few of those that heard the noises didn’t change into in poor health.

There have also been questions about whether or not these noises have been really crickets.

Furthermore, some victims suffered signs within the brief time period that appeared to subside, whereas others necessitated long-term therapy.

The widespread thread is that, for probably the most half, that is affecting US officers.

Signs of Havana Syndrome differ from individual to individual. AP

What are the signs of Havana Syndrome?

Signs of the sickness differ however sometimes entail dizziness, fatigue, migraines, reminiscence lapses, ear ache, listening to loss, and extra cognitive issues.

Generally these illnesses have been characterised by victims as excessive.

There isn’t proof to recommend that victims suffered any important mind harm, in line with two National Institutes of Health research launched final month.

Nevertheless, different professionals who studied the phenomenon corresponding to Stanford College scientist David Relman have disputed that assumption.

What causes Havana Syndrome?

The most effective reply to this important query is: We don’t know.

Specialists have floated a spread of theories corresponding to chemical assaults, ionizing radiation, acoustic indicators, and electromagnetic vitality, the Washington Post reported.

In 2020, the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medication released a study that advised “directed, pulsed radio frequency vitality” might be the offender.

Thus far, the general public hasn’t seen proof past circumstantial proof that signifies an vitality weapon was utilized.

But, others have posited that the signs have been merely the results of environmental or different preexisting components.

Russia vehemently denies its the mastermind behind the mysterious sickness. AP

Is Russia behind Havana Syndrome?

Early on, a number of the victims started to suspect that Russia or one other overseas adversary performed some position in spreading the ailment.

In 2022, nevertheless, the CIA concluded {that a} overseas actor was doubtless not accountable.

“We assess it’s unlikely {that a} overseas actor, together with Russia, is conducting a sustained, worldwide marketing campaign harming U.S. personnel with a weapon or mechanism,” a senior CIA official, told the Washington Post.

In a while, 5 out of seven businesses that reviewed the matter concluded it was “not possible” {that a} overseas energy was behind it, according to an assessment launched final yr.

However that concept was blown up over the weekend, when “60 Minutes,” Der Spiegel, and The Insider reported that Russia’s shadowy Russian hit squad, unit 29155, could have performed a job.

Greg Edgreen informed “60 Minutes” that there’s loads of proof pointing to Russia. 60 Minutes

“Sadly, I can’t get into specifics primarily based on the classification, however I can let you know at a really early stage, I began to deal with Moscow,” Greg Edgreen, who led the Pentagon’s inquiry into the Havana Syndrome informed “60 Minutes.”

Edgreen underscored the “caliber of our officer impacted,” noting that it was sometimes high-performing people and that there was constantly a “Russia nexus” or connection revolving round that particular person.

Key officers interviewed for the “60 Minutes” piece cited quite a lot of proof, together with data revealing a 29155 officer garnered a bonus for work on a “non-lethal acoustic weapons” system.

Moscow promptly denied the accusations, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov asserting, “All that is nothing greater than a baseless accusation, an unfounded accusation by the media,” per Russian state information TASS.

The Biden administration has been scrambling to analyze the causes of Havana Syndrome. AP

What’s the US doing about Havana Syndrome?

Lawmakers in Congress have been monitoring developments on Havana Syndrome.

In late 2022, Congress directed funds within the Protection funding laws to determine an “anomalous well being incidents interagency coordinator.”

Laws has additionally been crafted to root out gaps in federal protection and be certain that federal staff bothered by the ailment get lined.

High Biden administration officers corresponding to CIA Director William Burns and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have dubbed the difficulty a precedence for them.

Behind the scenes, the intelligence group continues to be analyzing and assessing the state of affairs.

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