Where to start the investigation? Havana (Cuba), Vienna (Austria), Hanoi (Vietnam), Berlin (Germany), Canton (China), Moscow (Russia), Bogota (Colombia), in Taiwan or even in the United States, in Washington …?
After years of procrastination, the US State Department has finally decided to resolve the “Havana Syndrome” case. Its leader, Antony Blinken, pledged on November 5 to “Shed all the light” on this phenomenon.
This mysterious ailment is characterized by migraines, tinnitus, visual and cognitive disturbances or problems with balance and dizziness. To date, some 200 cases have been reported among diplomats, servicemen, US Secret Service (CIA) agents and their families, who work in US embassies and consulates around the world – cases have also been documented. among Canadians. Some victims have also publicly complained that they are not taken seriously enough.
While the first cases were reported at the end of 2016 in the Cuban capital, the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Cuban Neuroscience Center have sought to clear customs. In March 2020, they organized an event entitled: “Does Havana Syndrome Exist?” “And agreed that the term” Havana syndrome “was “A media fabrication”, arguing that“There is no evidence to indicate that there is a new disease” and “The accusations do not stand up to serious scientific analysis”.
Two diplomats lead the investigation
To conduct the investigation, Antony Blinken announced the appointment of two seasoned diplomats: Ambassador Jonathan Moore, who will be responsible for coordinating the State Department’s response, and Ambassador Margaret A. Uyehara. She should ensure that anyone reporting symptoms receives appropriate medical attention.
“All of us in the United States government and particularly in the State Department are absolutely determined to shed light on the cause and perpetrators of these incidents, to take care of those affected, and to protect our colleagues., said the secretary of state, quoted in a press release. We rely on all the capabilities of our intelligence services. We recruit the best scientific brains, within the administration but also outside. “
Antony Blinken added that diplomats with disorders were now cared for by Johns Hopkins University Hospital (Maryland). Those who are called to go abroad now undergo in-depth neurological, hearing and ophthalmological examinations, “In order to have a basis of comparison if they subsequently report an abnormal health incident”, further explained the Secretary of State.
The hesitations of the State Department
Since the beginning of this affair, the American authorities hesitate on the answer to bring to it. At the end of September, the head of the CIA station in Vienna was recalled to Washington. He has been accused of failing to take recent cases of said « syndrome » in his team and within the embassy, reported the Washington Post.
Before him, it was the lightness of Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, who was criticized. In October 2020, he had to defend himself for having minimized the cases of American diplomats, victims in China, of this mysterious evil.
“The idea that we would not have protected our agents because of a larger political objective is absolutely wrong, absolutely, absolutely wrong, clearly wrong, without any ambiguity”, he said at a press conference in Washington, a few months after the signing of a trade agreement with Beijing. “I don’t want a country across the world to think it can do something like this without us taking it seriously. “
Biden administration tackles problem
If they hesitate, it is because the American authorities are in the fog. At the beginning of August, Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence brought together the Director of the CIA, William Burns, Antony Blinken, the Attorney General (equivalent to the Minister of Justice), Merrick Garland, and the Director of the FBI, the Federal Police, Christopher Wray, to take stock and admit that the investigation was still… ongoing.
But at the beginning of October, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, signed the Havana Act, a law on the financial and medical care of government employees who are victims of “Havana syndrome”. This text, supported by Democrats and Republicans, “Sends a clear message: we take care of our own [lorsqu’ils ont été touchés par] abnormal health problems ”, explains the White House in a statement: “We are using all of the resources of the US government to provide first-class medical care to those affected and to shed light on these incidents, including to determine the cause. “
While waiting for an official conclusion, according to a report from the American Academy of Sciences dating from the end of 2020, “Directed energy of radio waves” is the most likely cause of these symptoms. “Important research” were carried out on pulsed radiofrequency technology “In Russia-USSR” and “Soldiers from communist countries were exposed to radiation” of this type, recalled the instance. Who was careful not to designate a person in charge.