What Is ‘The Havana Syndrome’ And Its Link To Russia? | World News

The Pentagon recently confirmed that a high-ranking Defense Department official who participated in last year’s NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, exhibited symptoms resembling the “Havana syndrome.” 

The investigation into the Havana syndrome continues, encompassing a series of health issues dating back to 2016. During this time, personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Havana began reporting instances of sudden, unexplained sensations of pressure in the head or ears, and episodes of dizziness. 

The harm inflicted on American government personnel, or their relatives was highlighted in a “60 Minutes” broadcast on CBS, which implied Russian involvement in these incidents. However, the Kremlin dismissed the allegations that Russian military intelligence may be behind this mysterious illness. 

What Is The Havana Syndrome? 

The term “Havana Syndrome” describes a set of puzzling symptoms encountered by American diplomats, notably those stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The phenomenon emerged in the winter of 2017 when diplomats began reporting illnesses and strange sensations, including intense sounds and pressure in their heads.  

Recently, a senior Department of Defense official experienced symptoms like those anomalous incidents, reported AP. The reports do not suggest whether the affected defense official had to seek further medical care or retire citing medical privacy. 

In another case, Audrey Lee, a Foreign Service officer recounted an abrupt sensation of pressure in her head while washing dishes in her kitchen, according to the New Yorker. Comparable incidents were reported by fellow diplomats, sparking speculation about potential sonic assaults by a foreign party utilizing unspecified sonic weaponry. 

Symptoms And Causes of the Havana Syndrome 

According to reports by AP, the symptoms encompass a wide range, including issues with balance, sleep disturbances, dizziness, concentration difficulties, and many medical conditions could be responsible for their onset. 

As per a recent investigation by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MRI scans did not uncover any signs of brain injuries in several American personnel reporting AHI (acute and highly unusual illnesses). Suspicions have persisted that individuals affected might have been targeted by directed energy or microwaves emitted from covert devices—a notion recognised in a previous intelligence report from the United States, as reported by the BBC. 

Which Foreign Agency Is Behind These Acoustic Attack? 

In February, the 2024 threat assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of US concluded that it was improbable for a foreign adversary to be accountable for the enigmatic ailments. The report acknowledged that U.S. intelligence agencies held differing degrees of confidence in this evaluation. 

Nevertheless, State Department representative Matthew Miller assured the Associated Press following renewed allegations against Russian Secret Intelligence that the department maintains confidence in that evaluation. “It has been the broad conclusion of the intelligence community since March 2023 that is unlikely a foreign adversary is responsible for these anomalous health incidents,” Miller said. 

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