What’s behind the suspected “energy attacks” the U.S. government is investigating? Is it a weapon? Is it our own surveillance equipment? Is it a case of mass hysteria?
The only thing certain about the sickening of dozens of American government workers in several different places — including outside the White House — is that people are falling ill with debilitating symptoms.
Otherwise, our intelligence agencies don’t have a clue. They call it “Havanna Syndrome” because that’s where government employees first reported symptoms. But what it is escapes them.
Unfortunately, the investigation may already have been botched. A noted psychologist, Robert Bartholomew, reports that the intelligence panel investigating the syndrome appeared to be biased against a psychological explanation for the symptoms. The panel dropped one scientist after a radio interview where he suggested it might be “psychogenic.” Not very open-minded of them.
It’s important to consider every angle when there is no physical evidence of an attack, including the possibility that the syndrome was triggered by our own surveillance equipment.
Advocates for those affected accuse the U.S. government of long failing to take the problem seriously or provide the necessary medical care and benefits.
“The government has a much better understanding of it than it has let on,” said Mark Zaid, a Washington lawyer who represents several people affected. Zaid has obtained National Security Agency documents noting it has information dating to the late 1990s about an unidentified “hostile country” possibly having a microwave weapon “to weaken, intimidate, or kill an enemy over time.”
The possibility of a “directed microwave energy weapon” of some kind may have been at fault was considered in a report issued in December 2020 by the National Academy of Sciences.
The NAS panel, which was commissioned by the State Department, wrote that pulsed radiofrequency energy was the most likely cause, as it is consistent with “many of the distinctive and acute signs, symptoms, and observations reported by DOS employees.” The committee observed that “The acute initial, sudden-onset, distinctive, and unusual symptoms and signs are difficult to ascribe to psychological and social factors” (National Academy of Sciences 2020, 2). Most of the affected diplomats reported hearing strange sounds before feeling unwell. None of the incidents took place at the American Embassy but instead at one of two major Havana hotels, diplomat homes, and an apartment complex.
How close would the “weapon” have to be to cause the symptoms? How much energy would have to be released? Would such a weapon be mobile enough to carry in a car or truck? What parts of the brain are being “attacked”?
There are so many unanswered questions that to say Washington “has a much better understanding of it than it has let on,” sounds like lawyer-talk in preparation for a huge lawsuit against the government.
The Biden administration is saying “that it takes the matter seriously, is investigating aggressively, and will make sure those affected have good medical care.” But ultimately, the overriding concern is if it is a weapon and we identify the culprit what can we do?
That’s an argument for why the guilty party will probably never be identified publicly. If we find that Russia or China have been attacking our diplomats and other government personnel, what are we going to do? Bomb them? Invade them? As we’ve seen with other issues, sanctions don’t do much damage — at least, enough damage to get them to stop.
So we’re stuck sending the “angry letter” to Moscow or Beijing and making a show of applying meaningless sanctions to them. So the attacks continue and as long as they’re not killing anyone, we’re not going to get them to stop.
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