Havana Syndrome sufferer labels condition 'act of war'
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The mystery illness, which was first reported in Cuba in 2016, has followed US embassy staff and military personnel around the globe. Cases of Havana syndrome have been reported in the US, China, UK, Poland, Russia, among others, and most recently in Serbia. Symptoms include pain, dizziness and reports of a high-pitched metallic sound, which has led some to speculate these were targetted attacks by America’s adversaries.
Russia has frequently come under fire for its alleged involvement in the “attacks” although no one has ever proven any involvement from foreign powers.
Earlier this month, Iain Boyd, a Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, claimed weapons harnessing the power of electromagnetic waves could be responsible.
He said: “If Havana syndrome turns out to be caused by weapons that shoot energy beams, they won’t be the first such weapons.
“As an aerospace engineer and former Vice Chair of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, I’ve researched directed energy.
“I can also personally attest to the effectiveness of directed energy weapons.”
In 2020, a study by the US National Academies of Sciences (NAS), Engineering and Medicine concluded more than 130 victims of Havana syndrome have experienced real symptoms.
But with no tangible culprit in sight, the report only served to deepen the mystery.
The mystery illness was explored by authors Robert Baloh and Robert Bartholomew in their March 2020 book, Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria.
According to the book’s description, Havana syndrome “is one of the most extraordinary cases in the history of science”.
The authors concluded at the time Havana syndrome was not an effort to target US diplomats, but rather a psychogenic illness linked to the mating calls of insects.
US officials in Berlin hit with 'Havana Syndrome' in August 2021
And according to a declassified report by the US State Department, their conclusion was right on the money.
The document was obtained by BuzzFeed News and was penned by the JASON advisory group – an independent group of specialists who advise the US government on sensitive matters of science and technology.
The report confirms that “many of the affected individuals describe hearing unusual sounds, and that there are a number of recordings of these sounds”.
However, an analysis of these sounds concluded these were most likely mechanical or biological in origin and not electronic.
The most likely culprit? The Indies short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllis celerinictus).
The report reads: “The call of this animal matches, in nuanced detail, the spectral properties of the recordings from Cuba once room echoes are taken into account.
“Other hypotheses are also plausible, such as generation by mechanical devices (e.g., a worn pump motor), or structure-borne vibration.”
The report also stated with “high confidence” the reported sounds were “not produced by the nonlinear detection of high power radiofrequency or ultrasound pulses”.
However, the report’s findings seem to contradict the NAS’s 2020 report, which concluded microwaves were the “most plausible” culprit.
The NAS told BuzzFeed: “We are grateful to the JASON Group for their insight, which while coming to no firm conclusions, has assisted us in our ongoing investigation of these incidents.”
The JASON experts noted in their report their findings are inconclusive and remain open to other possibilities.
They wrote: “It cannot be ruled out that while the perceived sounds, while not harmful, are introduced by an adversary as deception so as to mask an entirely unrelated mode of causing illness.”
To date, more than 200 US officials have reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome.
Earlier this month US officials passed a bill to provide financial aid to US personnel who suffered from the illness.
These include diplomats who were struck down with similar symptoms in Vietnam in August.
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