The incidents pertaining to the so-called “Havana Syndrome” first came to light in 2017, when media reports claimed that in late 2016 US diplomats based in the Cuban capital began hearing odd sounds that impacted their hearing and cognitive abilities.
Noises linked to a mysterious disease among US diplomats in Cuba, dubbed the “Havana Syndrome”, were likely caused by insects rather than microwave weapons, a new declassified report has revealed.
The scientific review was commissioned by the US State Department and written by the independent science advisory group JASON.
According to the report obtained by BuzzFeed News, scientists looked into at least eight “audio and video recordings of high-frequency sounds taken by US personnel”, also reviewing diplomats’ personal accounts and their medical information.
“No plausible single source of energy (neither radio/microwaves nor sonic) can produce both the recorded audio/video signals and the reported medical effect. We believe the recorded sounds are mechanical or biological in origin, rather than electronic. The most likely source is the Indies short-tailed cricket”, the survey asserted.
At the same time, the report did not rule out “[…] the perceived sounds, while not harmful, being introduced by an adversary as deception so as to mask an entirely unrelated mode of causing illness”.
In December 2020, a separate report commissioned by the State Department and released by the National Academy of Sciences found that “directed” microwave radiation was most likely the cause of the “Havana Syndrome”.
The JASON review comes after the House of Representatives passed a bill in late September to provide payments to US government personnel believed to be suffering from the mysterious illness. The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks Act, or Havana Act, was approved in a 427-0 vote.
In a separate development last month, a report by experts affiliated with the Cuban Academy of Sciences rejected claims of the “Havana Syndrome”-related attacks ostensibly targeting US and Canadian diplomats on its soil.
“[…] Neither the Cuban police, nor the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], 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”, the document claimed.
The State Department previously used the phrase “anomalous health incident” to describe the “Havana Syndrome” that was first reported by American diplomats in Cuba in 2016, and later afflicted scores of US and Canadian diplomats and intelligence officials across the globe.
The symptoms reportedly include a “piercing directional noise”, and head pressure, as well as nausea, dizziness, and brain fog. The number of suspected cases is currently on the rise, with the latest such incident taking place in Serbia in late September.
At the time, a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer was evacuated from Serbia after he suffered a number of neurological symptoms similar to those of the “Havana Syndrome”.