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July 16, 2021 | SourceAdam Entous | The New Yorker |
“Roughly two dozen possible new cases have been reported by U.S. spies and diplomats in the Austrian capital, more than in any other city except Havana itself.
Since Joe Biden took office, about two dozen U.S. intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government officials in Vienna have reported experiencing mysterious afflictions similar to the Havana Syndrome. U.S. officials say the number of possible new cases in the Austrian capital—long a nexus of U.S. and Russian espionage—is now greater than the number reported by officials in any city except for Havana itself, where the first cases were reported.
The exact cause of the ailments in Vienna, which U.S. government agencies formally refer to as “anomalous health incidents” or “unexplained health incidents,” remains unknown, but in response to the surge the C.I.A., the State Department, and other agencies are redoubling their efforts to determine the cause, and to identify the culprit or culprits. A C.I.A. spokesperson said that the agency’s director, William Burns, was “personally engaged with personnel affected by anomalous health incidents and is highly committed to their care and to determining the cause of these incidents.” Privately, Burns has called the maladies “attacks” rather than incidents. A State Department spokesman said, “In coordination with our partners across the U.S. government, we are vigorously investigating reports of possible unexplained health incidents among the U.S. Embassy Vienna community.”
The Havana Syndrome derives its name from the Cuban capital, where C.I.A. officers and State Department employees first reported experiencing strange sensations of sound and pressure in their heads in 2016 and 2017. Some of the patients said the sensations seemed to follow them around their homes, apartments, and hotel rooms in the Cuban capital. Some of the patients described feeling as though they were standing in an invisible beam of energy. Many of them suffered debilitating symptoms, from headaches and vertigo to vision problems. Specialists at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair used advanced MRIs to study the brains of forty of the original patients from Havana. They found no signs of physical impact to the patients’ skulls—it was as if they had “a concussion without a concussion,” one specialist told me—and the team detected signs of damage to their brains.
Senior officials in the Trump and Biden Administrations suspect that the Russians are responsible for the syndrome. Their working hypothesis is that operatives working for the G.R.U., the Russian military-intelligence service, have been aiming microwave-radiation devices at U.S. officials, possibly to steal data from their computers or smartphones, which inflicted serious harm on the people they targeted. But American intelligence analysts and operatives have so far been unable to find concrete evidence that would allow them to declare that either microwave radiation or the Russians were to blame.”
The Microwave Weapons That Could Explain Why ‘Havana Syndrome’ Report Is Not Being Released (UPDATED)
October 20, 2020 | David Hambling | Forbes
UPDATE December 6th — “The New York Times has obtained the official ‘Havana Syndrome’ report — which appears to confirm the theory that microwave or radio-frequency devices were involved.
American officials in Cuba and China have experienced ‘Havana Syndrome’ : hearing strange sounds, then suffering dizziness, headaches and memory loss. A new report in New York Times suggests that the cause of the syndrome is being covered up by the State Department. A deep dive into the murky history of microwave weapons may give clues about exactly what is being covered up.
The incidents, first reported in Cuba in 2016, have been controversial from the start. Victims typically hear a burst of high-pitched, grating noise with no obvious source before suffering other symptoms. Other people in the same building do not experience either the sound or the other effects.
Some have dismissed the incidents as psychogenic illness, what used to be called mass hysteria; the only noises that can be recorded are local insects. However, extensive brain scans of the victims found signs of injury, described as “a new syndrome….that resembles persistent concussion” in a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2018.
Such effects could not be produced by a sonic weapon, which cannot travel through walls or be localized in this way. But researchers suggested that a microwave device might be involved. Auditory effects of microwaves have been known since the early 1960s, when some people exposed to high-intensity microwave pulses reported a clicking or buzzing.
“A minuscule but rapid rise in tissue temperature, resulting from the absorption of pulsed microwave energy, creates a thermoelastic expansion of brain matter,” says James Lin, a professor emeritus of bioelectromagnetic engineering at the University of Illinois, who has been investigating the effect for decades.
The rapid expansion causes an acoustic shockwave in the brain, which can be heard as sound coming from within your head. Attempts to harness this effect for communication came to nothing and it remained a scientific curiosity for many years.
But there have been attempts to weaponize the effect.
In the early 2000s, the Sierra Nevada Corporation developed a device called MEDUSA, or Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio, for the U.S. Navy. The aim was to generate a microwave auditory effect loud enough to cause severe discomfort and disperse crowds – a microwave scream inside your skull. The most significant development was a novel electronic antenna able to form a narrow beam and target a specific individual. MEDUSA never made it past the prototype stage, and Sierra Nevada have declined to comment on later developments.
In the same time period, the U.S. Marine Corps funded work on another non-lethal weapon called EPIC — Electromagnetic Personnel Interdiction Control. This aimed to disable people inside a building through the walls using pulsed radio waves to influence tiny hairs in the vestibular system. These hairs give us our sense of balance and orientation; hitting then with a resonant frequency can make them vibrate, causing dizziness and loss of balance. EPIC was intended to prevent subjects from moving or even standing up, forcing them to give up without a fight.
Testing EPIC on animals was challenging. Rats were trained to traverse a course for a food reward; researchers then tested whether they were stopped when EPIC was activated. This elaborate set-up was needed because a stationary rat with a disabled vestibular system just hunkers down without any obvious signs. However, the technology was not developed beyond this initial stages.
Subsequent research may also shed light on other features of Havana Syndrome. In 2013 Chinese researchers found that rats exposed to pulsed microwaves had difficulty in learning to negotiate a water maze for up to three days after exposure. The researchers believed this was due to damage to the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory. It is suggestive of the memory loss and mental impairment suffered by some of the victims in Cuba and China.
In 2015, scientists in Tokyo carried out their own tests on rats, using intense pulsed power to cause microwave-induced traumatic brain injury. When they examined the damage to brain tissue afterwards, they concluded that “microwave-induced neurotrauma shows the same pathological changes as blast traumatic brain injury.” In other words, it is possible to produce concussion inside the skull with microwave pulses, exactly as seen in Havana Syndrome.
The sound, dizziness, headaches, memory loss and brain damage all seem to be consistent with microwave effects, and cannot easily be accounted for with other explanations.
In August, the National Academies of Sciences finished up the most thorough study to date of the likely causes of the incidents in Cuba and China. It might finally settle the issue. It could also bring relief to some of those affected, who have had lasting health effects including migraines and hearing loss, and are being told their condition is psychological. However, the State Department is withholding the report.”
Electromagnetic personnel interdiction control method and system
“A non-lethal and non-destructive electromagnetic personnel interdiction control stun type weapon system and method utilizes beamed radio frequency energy in a frequency range and modulated to impose a Lorentz force on the vestibular system or sensory cells of a remote human subject sufficient to disrupt the mechanical transduction process and/or the chemical engine by which sound, position and other sensory input are converted to messages by nerve cells and processed by the brain to produce complete disorientation, confusion, and incapacitation sufficient to temporarily render the subject powerless to resist arrest or subjugation.”