U.S. officials are developing mysterious symptoms at embassies around the world…and in Washington, D.C. Is it an energy weapon?
Back in 2016, U.S. embassy officials in Havana, Cuba began complaining of dizziness, hearing loss, and other strange symptoms. This mysterious illness was quickly dubbed the “Havana syndrome.”
It wasn’t only U.S. officials complaining. The Canadian embassy in Havanareported similar issues.
At first, there was a lot of speculation about what could have caused all these symptoms. Understandably, there were a lot of unknowns at the time as the U.S. tried to determine why people were falling ill. The U.S. even suspected Cuba may have had some hand in causing this sudden explosion of health problems in embassy staff members.
Soon, U.S. personnel at the consulate in Guangzhou, China reported similar symptoms. Before long, cases were showing up across the globe, such as in Uzbekistan, this time involving a USAID official. It quickly became clear that something much bigger was at play.
Experts carried out a study, finding the symptoms were, “consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy.” These directed-energy attacks are quite worrisome. While the study revealed RF energy as a potential cause, it also drew attention to the fact that these devices do in fact already exist.
These incidents are not just occurring abroad at U.S. embassies, either. One incident happened right here in Washington, D.C. Just weeks apart, two National Security Council officials reported experiencing the syndrome while near the White House back in May. This raises many questions, including how portable a device able to cause such harm is likely to be.
The U.S. already possesses a device that blasts microwaves, called an Active Denial System. It is non-lethal and was designed for crowd control. It essentially heats up the target — which is not similar to the Havana syndrome. It is also quite massive and easy to spot. Therefore, whatever is causing the Havana syndrome must be something quite different.
Out of the roughly 200 U.S. officials afflicted by the mysterious illness, about 100 of them are CIA officers and their family members. Close to half the victims being CIA personnel and family is quite interesting.
There is a lot of speculation about Russia being the culprit behind these attacks. During the Cold War, the USSR was no stranger to microwaves and tended to use “a lot of high-energy devices to actually do technical collection operations.”
However, if this is a case of surveillance gone wrong, it seems to be quite widespread.
Though there is a possibility that someone else is behind these attacks, it is true that microwave energy was quite extensively studied and published about by the Soviet Union. It would seem that given its history, Russia is a prime suspect in these attacks, despite a lack of explicit evidence.
Further complicating the puzzle, the U.S. may have seen something similar to the Havana Syndrome before.
In 1996, two National Security Agency officers might have been the first victims of a directed-energy attack. Mike Beck and Charles Gubete were tasked with ensuring a U.S. diplomatic construction site was not bugged. While stationed in an undisclosed country (location still classified), the pair developed similar symptoms to what we now know as the Havana Syndrome.
Was it possible that they were the victims of a microwave energy attack?
Nor does the story end there. 10 years later, Beck developed a rare form of Parkinson’s. Shortly after, Gubete developed the same rare form. Both of officers experienced the same symptoms in 1996 and developed the same rare disease at the same time — 10 years later.
If the Beck/Gubete incident is related to the more recent cases, the U.S. would be wise to quickly find the culprit.
How else can the U.S. respond?
These directed-energy attacks on U.S. government officials must be stopped. It is totally unacceptable for U.S. embassies to be attacked in such a manner, targeting U.S. government officials and their families. Especially, if there are long-term health consequences involved.
There should be significant concern about a directed-energy weapon being used on U.S. government officials. The fact that one of these incidents recently occurred near the White House should be cause for great alarm.
This type of covert action within U.S. borders will not end well for U.S. citizens, and voters, who expect their government to defend against foreign threats. If these types of attacks become the norm, more lives will be at risk.
With the increase of cyberattacks committed by hacking groups and rogue nations, adding in directed-energy attacks is sure to fray relationships between already uneasy rivals.
The U.S. is becoming more and more wary of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Unfortunately, this is during a time when the U.S. is looking to improve its world standing. Regardless, these types of covert actions are unacceptable and only serve to increase tensions.
As of now, there is not much concrete information about who is conducting these attacks. However, once found out, the U.S. must be swift in its actions in order to prevent more attacks. If a nation state is found to be behind these attacks, relations will be severely affected, and tensions will be escalated to the highest level.
CIA Director William Burns has put together a task force to look into the mystery of the Havana Syndrome. The U.S. is taking the matter very seriously as the increase in attacks will only cause more anxiety. Diplomats and other government officials will look towards a swift resolution on the issue.
The latest incident in Vienna should fuel the urgency in finding out what is happening. If the lives of U.S. government officials and their families are being put at risk, all available resources should be put to use.
(contributing writer, Ari Mitropoulos) (contributing editor, Brooke Bell)