Svetlana Ekimenko

September 14, 2021



A report commissioned by the State Department and released in December 2020 by a National Academy of Sciences committee found that “directed” microwave radiation was a likely cause of incidents of so-called “Havana syndrome”, a mysterious illness affecting American diplomats in Cuba and China dating back to late 2016.

Cuba has rejected claims of mysterious “Havana Syndrome” attacks ostensibly targeting US and Canadian diplomats on its soil.

There is “no scientific evidence of attacks” of this nature, declared a detailed report, assembled by experts that included neuroscientists, physicists, psychologists and otorhinologists affiliated with the Cuban Academy of Sciences and published on the Cubadebate official news site.

The report deplored that some accepted “as an axiom that attacks occurred in Havana,” adding that “after four years, no evidence of attacks has appeared.”

“… Neither the Cuban police, nor the FBI, nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have discovered evidence of ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Havana despite intense investigations… We conclude that the narrative of the ‘mysterious syndrome’ is not scientifically acceptable in any of its components,” said the document, published on Cubadebate.

Cases of the enigmatic disease have been reported among US officials and intelligence officers since 2016 in Cuba, China, Germany, Australia, Taiwan and in Washington. The Cuban experts questioned whether the plethora of reported symptoms, ranging from hearing high-pitched or sharp sounds that left them nauseated, to bloody noses, headaches or other symptoms resembling a concussion could even be referred to as a single syndrome.

The scientists suggested that some of the proposed explanations for the allegedly occurring complaints violated basic laws of physics. They also expressed frustration over having been denied access to much of the evidence cited by US researchers. American scientists probing cases of the purported disease, which has also been dubbed “sonic attacks”, have suggested that some of the complaints may have been rooted in preexisting conditions.

“No known form of energy can selectively cause brain damage (with laser-like precision) under the conditions described for the alleged incidents in Havana,” stated the Cuban report.

It added that the only explanation so far that cannot be ruled out is the possibility of psychological suggestion triggering the described symptoms. Earlier, a report released in December by a US National Academy of Sciences committee found that “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy appears to be the most plausible” explanation for the illnesses among American diplomats in Cuba and China. Neither the source for the energy was indicated, nor was an attack suggested as the cause.

The Cuban document described the US report’s conclusion as “puzzling” as it “cites no direct evidence for the involvement of (radio frequency) in the events in Havana or elsewise.”

‘Sonic Attacks’

Symptoms of the mysterious illness first came to light publicly in 2017, with reports claiming that in late 2016, US diplomats and other staff stationed in Havana began hearing strange sounds and experiencing physical sensations that supposedly resulted in hearing, balance and cognitive changes.

Dubbed “Havana syndrome”, reports of the disease surfaced later in China in 2018. Symptoms included hearing a “piercing directional noise”, experiencing head pressure, nausea, dizziness, and brain fog. After allegedly hearing the sounds, diplomats suffered long-term health anxiety.

Late in July, CIA Director William Burns stated that Russia may be responsible for the mysterious incidents, but cited insufficient evidence to make final decisions. The allegations were dismissed by Moscow as “totally absurd.”

At one point, American officials asserted they had been victims of “sonic attacks” prompting a shutdown of US Embassy operations, with Canada reducing its diplomatic personnel in Havana in 2017. However, researchers in both countries have been unable to agree on what might have caused the illnesses.

US vice-president Kamala Harris last month briefly delayed a trip to Vietnam after reports of two cases of the illness occurring there. Harris and her team eventually opted to continue with their travels, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying there had been no assessment indicating that the VP was targeted as part of the incident.