Despite intelligence agencies finding no conclusive evidence, the Military is still looking into whether a weapon triggered the “Havana Syndrome.”

Date:

Despite intelligence agencies finding no conclusive evidence, the Military is still looking into whether a weapon triggered the "Havana Syndrome."

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Tuesday, March 07, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • The Pentagon invests around $1.5 billion a year in researching this technology and has long investigated the potential military uses of directed energy, such as lasers and high-power microwaves.

  • Much research suggests that an energy-harvesting gadget could cause the Havana Syndrome episodes.

  • According to the intelligence official, a weapon would make victims sweat and experience a racing heart, inconsistent with the symptoms the victims reported.

  • Giordano was one of the experts hired to investigate the initial string of incidents involving American and Canadian diplomats in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.

  • Officials from the intelligence community stated they would be open to more studies on this subject.

According to two former intelligence officials with knowledge of the initiatives, the Pentagon’s research arm, comprising the Army and Air Force research laboratories, is evaluating weapon systems to see what might be the root of the symptoms. Like others interviewed for this article, the subjects requested anonymity because it was a delicate matter.

According to a statement from DoD spokesperson Lt. Col. Devin Robinson, a “cross-functional team” in the Pentagon mandated by Congress “remains focused” on dealing with the events. Robinson says this encompasses “the aetiology, attribution, mitigation, identification and treatment” for such situations.

According to Robinson, the DoD team “is not focused on producing weapons” but instead focuses on aiding those the occurrences have harmed.

A Pentagon official briefed reporters on the findings last week, saying that the organisation is seeking to create “defences” against the condition and is looking into the possibility that a weapon may be to blame.

After the CIA-led assessment was made public on Wednesday, a Military official told victims in an email that the DoD team is “staying the course.” Victims were advised to “report any incidences you may have experienced and encourage those around you to do the same,” the official said.

According to a senior State Department official, the agency supports the assessment made by the intelligence community. It has a task team collecting reports of potential occurrences and coordinating care for those affected.

At Walter Reed National Medical Center, DoD provides care for federal employees with brain impairments, including some connected to the Havana Syndrome episodes.

The Pentagon’s announcement that it is still researching the problem follows a rigorous review led by the CIA, which found that it is “extremely unlikely” that a foreign opponent employing a weapon was to blame for the occurrences. Yet, the confidence in the result varied among the seven participating agencies.

Two of the agencies, which intelligence officials did not name, have low confidence in the assessment because they still believe “radiofrequency (RF) radiation is a credible cause,” according to a statement from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Recently, a number of lawmakers have voiced their dissatisfaction with the official intelligence community findings.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement, “I am concerned that the Intelligence Community effectively concluded that U.S. soldiers… were merely suffering symptoms caused by environmental variables, disease, or prior disorders. As I’ve already stated, something happened here, and just because you don’t have the answers doesn’t mean it didn’t.

The search is ongoing

The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act established the cross-functional team as the Pentagon’s first line of attack to handle the national security issues raised by the occurrences and to guarantee the victims receive sufficient care. The effort is the main priority for senior department leaders: According to Robinson, the endeavour is being led by Colin Kahl, the DoD’s chief of policy, and his military deputy, Major General Gregory Masiello of the Marine Corps. The head for interagency collaboration is Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary for homeland defence and hemispheric affairs.

Up until recently, career civil servant Griffin Decker oversaw DoD’s response to the accidents. According to two persons with knowledge of the matter, he just departed the Department of Defense to spearhead the campaign for the Republicans on the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee. According to POLITICO, Decker was one of several DoD officers who informed senators in 2021 that American troops were becoming more exposed to attacks.

The Pentagon invests around $1.5 billion a year in researching this technology and has long investigated the potential military uses of directed energy, such as lasers and high-power microwaves. The Navy’s Laser Weapons System mounted on an amphibious transport ship in the Persian Gulf, Boeing’s “CHAMP,” a high-power microwave source mounted in a missile, and “THOR,” developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory to combat drone swarms, are just a few of the programmes that have resulted from this effort.

Edl Schamiloglu, a professor at the University of New Mexico who has collaborated with the DoD on high-power microwave sources, wrote about directed energy weapons in a 2020 article for Defense One. These weapons transform energy from a power source into radiated electromagnetic energy and concentrate it on a target. Although they are mostly made to disable and injure electrical equipment, they can also hurt people.

A large body of research suggests that an energy-harvesting gadget could cause the Havana Syndrome episodes. The symptoms were consistent with the effects of “directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy,” according to a 2020 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that the State Department had commissioned to investigate the initial cluster of incidents in Havana. A panel of outside specialists deemed this “the most likely mechanism” to explain the sickness.

The intelligence officer revealed the conclusions of the latest analysis on Wednesday, saying that medical thought had “evolved” since then. Although early investigations concluded that the incidents reflected a regular sequence of damage resembling traumatic brain injury, more current studies have not revealed a typical pattern of symptoms.

According to the intelligence official, a weapon would make victims sweat and experience a racing heart, which was inconsistent with the symptoms the victims reported. This is another reason why the intelligence community’s assessment determined it was unlikely a weapon caused the illness. According to the intelligence community, the individual also said there is no proof that possible enemies possess such a weapon.

However, some scientists contest both of these claims. The victim would experience heat if exposed to continuous, low-power electromagnetic radiation, such as in a typical microwave oven. James Giordano, a professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University and the federally-funded think tank the Institute for Biodefense Research, contrasted this with the possibility that a high-power, quickly pulsed source could harm the victim’s brain while delivering much less energy, which case there would be no heating effect.

For instance, “you would not feel the heat if you took a match, and you put that match out very rapidly on your finger, and then remove the match,” he stated.

Giordano was one of the experts hired to look into the initial string of incidents involving American and Canadian diplomats in Havana, Cuba, in 2016. He noted that while the team could not discover a smoking gun, it did rule out drug exposure, psychogenic factors, and environmental or ecological causes like poisons or pesticides. The team concluded that “any sort of energy,” such as an acoustic or ultrasonic device, or a fast pulsed, scalable microwave, was most likely the source of the impacts that affected the individuals.

He claimed that China, Russia, and the US had created gadgets that use these types of targeted energy.

Giordano stated, “We are not pleased with the findings since [it] flatly rejects the current evidence regarding those incidents in Havana. “It’s vital to avoid categorically relating all subsequent reports—over 1,000—to those incredibly typical examples in Havana. Throwing away the baby with the bathwater is the true issue here.

Officials from the intelligence community stated they would be open to more studies on this subject.

The DNI statement reads, “All agencies recognise the value of more research on prospective adversary capabilities in the RF area, partly because there is still scientific dispute on whether this may result in a weapon that could create the symptoms found in some of the documented AHI instances.

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