Havana Syndrome

#GS3 #SCIENCE #GS2 #INTERNATIONAL

Nearly four years after a mysterious neurological illness, referred to as “Havana syndrome”, started to afflict American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Cuba, China, and other countries, a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) has found “directed” microwave radiation to be its “plausible” cause.

  • Interestingly, neither the State Department nor the FBI have publicly pointed to “microwave weapons” as being the cause of the “syndrome” whose symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties.

 

Microwave weapons:

  • “Microwave weapons” are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target. 
  • People exposed to high-intensity microwave pulses have reported a clicking or buzzing sound, as if seeming to be coming from within your head
  • It can have both acute and long-term effects - without leaving signs of physical damage.

 

Havana syndrome:

  • In late 2016, US diplomats and other employees stationed in Havana reported feeling ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes. 
  • The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss, which have since come to be known as “Havana Syndrome”. 
  • Cuba had denied any knowledge of the illnesses even though the US had accused it of carrying out “sonic attacks”, leading to an increase in tensions.
  • National Academies of Sciences titled this syndrome as “An assessment of illness in US government employees and their families at overseas embassies
  • In all, more than two dozen American diplomats and members of their families in Cuba and China and at least 14 Canadian citizens in Havana reportedly have experienced similar symptoms. 
  • While the symptoms have resolved for some of the affected employees, for others, the effects have lingered and posed a significant obstacle to their work and affected normal functioning of lives.
  • A 2019 US academic study found “brain abnormalities” in the diplomats who had fallen ill.
  • Besides, a medical team that examined 21 of those affected in Cuba did not mention “microwave weapons” in a study.
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