The mysterious Havana Syndrome "sonic attacks" have been back in the media of late, especially after Vice President Kamala Harris' August tour of Southeast Asian countries was briefly disrupted over claims of a Havana Syndrome attack on US Embassy personnel in Vietnam. And most recently this week it was revealed that last month a CIA officer was evacuated from Serbia after suffering mysterious symptoms which US officials believe was the result of a "directed energy" attack.
Since 2017 there's been an estimated 200 possible Havanda Syndrome incidents. This week The Wall Street Journal called attention to "a steady expansion of attacks on American spies and diplomats posted overseas by unknown assailants using what government officials and scientists suspect is some sort of directed-energy source." Top US has officials have used the mysterious ailment to cast suspicion and blame on everyone from the Russians, to the Cubans and Iranians - to any nefarious US enemy and foreign spooks bent on unleashing mayhem from the shadows using James Bond style high-tech devises that have never been recovered or revealed.
Recall that starting in 2016 into 2017 there were bizarre reports that nearly two dozen American diplomats - and a handful of Canadians - serving at embassies in Havana suffered hard-to-pin-down symptoms from the alleged "sonic attacks". Personnel reported experiencing everything from vomiting to concussions to chronic headaches to minor brain injuries.
But from the start anything in the way of actual evidence was lacking - other than the reports of the strange symptoms themselves (something which varied from person to person, and remained highly subjective in terms of description or severity). The whole initial episode focused on the US Embassy in the Cuban capital gave rise to endless theories.
One prime theory that emerged in 2019 ascribed it to a natural phenomenon due to sounds produced by crickets in Havana. This particular theory wasn't merely based on the musings of some random US officials, but was advanced by a team of scientists, and was featured in The Guardian in 2019. Other scientists had simultaneously posited the possibility of mass hysteria among staff serving in a high stress environment.
This week the whole narrative advanced by Washington officials has further unraveled, given Buzzfeed has obtained a new declassified government paper showing government-commissioned scientists themselves say the original Havana Syndrome incidents were "most likely" caused by insects:
Noises linked to mysterious injuries among US diplomats in Cuba were most likely caused by crickets — not microwave weapons — according to a declassified scientific review commissioned by the US State Department and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The State Department report was written by the JASON advisory group, an elite scientific board that has reviewed US national security concerns since the Cold War. It was completed in November of 2018, two years after dozens of US diplomats in Cuba and their families reported hearing buzzing noises and then experiencing puzzling neurological injuries, including pain, vertigo, and difficulty concentrating.
The report was originally classified as "secret" but was made public via journalists' FOIA request. It directly takes aim at the official narrative of a directed energy weapon or sonic attack, calling these possibilities "highly unlikely".
The now declassified paper spells out: