Havana syndrome could be caused by pulsed energy devices, intelligence report says

The mysterious condition known as Havana syndrome can be “plausibly explained” through the targeted use of “pulsed electromagnetic energy,” according to a partially declassified US intelligence report. First reported in 2016 by American and Canadian diplomats in the Cuban capital, “Havana syndrome” consists of a series of strange neurological symptoms and has sparked debate over whether the disease could be caused by some sort of man-made device.

A panel of intelligence experts with “expertise in relevant areas of science, medicine and technology” wrote the report after analyzing over 1,000 documents and interviewing affected individuals. They determined the symptoms associated with the disease as “real and compelling,” noting that while some cases can be attributed to known psychological or medical factors, others remain unexplained.

The authors attempted to determine the feasibility of five possible causal mechanisms, including “acoustic cues, chemical and biological agents, ionizing radiation, natural and environmental factors, and radiofrequency and other electromagnetic energy.” To narrow the scope of the investigation, they assessed the potential of each of these mechanisms to explain cases of Havana syndrome that cannot readily be explained in any other way.

More specifically, they examined cases with a combination of four particularly puzzling “core features.” These include “the acute onset of … noise or pressure in only one ear or on one side of the head,” as well as dizziness, “a strong sense of locality or direction,” and the absence of obvious environmental or medical causes of such symptoms.

The authors rule out the possibility that Havana syndrome may represent an underlying brain disorder, noting that “the combination of the four core features is clearly unusual and has not been reported elsewhere in the medical literature and has not been associated with a specific neurological one anomaly has been linked. ”

On the other hand, they conclude that “pulsed electromagnetic energy, especially in the high-frequency range, plausibly explains the nuclear properties”, although they admit that such a theory is fraught with “information gaps”. Referring to the possibility that Havana Syndrome could therefore be caused by a nefarious device, they go on to state that there are “devices that could produce the required stimulus, are concealable, and have moderate power requirements” that may cause the observed symptoms could cause.

For example, they show how “using non-standard antennas and techniques, the signals could be propagated tens to hundreds of meters through the air with little loss and through most building materials with some loss.” At the same time, however, the authors point out that their report provides no evidence of the use of such a device, nor does it address the question of who could be behind a hypothetical attack.

With the possible exception of ultrasound machines, the report rules out the plausibility of all other proposed causes. For example, both ionizing radiation and chemical or biological agents tend to produce effects that are inconsistent with the symptoms of Havana syndrome.

Interestingly, these findings appear to contradict those of a recent CIA investigation, which concluded that most cases of disease can be explained by natural causes and that claims of a targeted attack by a foreign state are unfounded.

In a statement, the authors of this latest report said that “the work of the IC is progressing [Intelligence Community] The panel of experts will help sharpen the work of the IC and the US government more broadly as we focus on possible causes.

“We will hold to this with continued rigor as long as it lasts.”

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