Health Care

‘Havana syndrome’ could be the result of electromagnetic weapon: declassified report

FILE – Tourists ride classic convertible cars on the Malecon beside the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, on Oct. 3, 2017. The State Department is preparing to compensate victims of mysterious brain injuries colloquially known as “Havana Syndrome” with six-figure payments, according to officials and a congressional aide. Current and former State Department staff and their families who suffered from “qualifying injuries” since cases were first reported among U.S. embassy personnel in Cuba in 2016 will receive payments of between roughly $100,000 and $200,000 each, the officials and aide said. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

A newly released declassified report by a panel of experts has concluded that “Havana syndrome” is not a naturally occurring health phenomenon, leaving open the possibility that the maladies that have struck diplomats across the globe are the result of the use of an unknown weapon.

The report, which was obtained by Salon via a public records request, was prepared for the Director of National Intelligence by a panel of experts who reviewed the origins of anomalous health incidents (AHI) that have affected officials around the world.

The 153-page redacted report concluded that some of the cases “cannot be easily explained by known environmental or medical conditions and could be due to external stimuli.”

“Although some signs and symptoms of AHIs are common in known medical conditions, the combination of the four core characteristics is distinctly unusual, is unreported elsewhere in the medical literature, and so far has not been associated with a specific neurological abnormality,” the report stated.

The report also held that electromagnetic energy could explain the characteristics of some of the cases.

“Electromagnetic energy, particularly pulsed signals in the radiofrequency range, plausibly explains the core characteristics, although information gaps exist,” the report said.

The term “Havana syndrome” was coined after employees at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016 reported illnesses ranging from headaches to loss of balance and other neurological difficulties. Since then, officials have reported similar illnesses in a number of cities around the globe.

A popular theory surrounding the incidents is that the health ailments were the results of some type of interference by a foreign government.

The conclusion that the health incidents could plausibly be the results of some type of electromagnetic energy devices comes after the U.S. intelligence community concluded earlier this month that the health incidents were unlikely to be the result of interference by a foreign government.

The report from the intelligence community said it was unlikely that a foreign power had a weapon that was capable of inflicting such effects.

The newly released report, however, said that “sources exist that could generate the required stimuli, are concealable, and have moderate power requirements.”

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