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Sick diplomats: a new theory about the “Havana Syndrome”

Sick diplomats: a new theory about the “Havana Syndrome”

On Monday, the Russian government denied reports that its intelligence services were behind this mysterious syndrome. It first appeared in 2016 around the US Embassy in Cuba, and in 2021, according to New Yorker reports, several cases occurred in Vienna among US diplomats and government officials. Later there were suspected cases in Germany and Colombia.

All the cases have one thing in common: those affected complained of non-specific symptoms such as headache, nausea, hearing loss, dizziness, and memory loss, and in some cases they were said to have lost consciousness. The reason is unknown. Pesticides as well as mysterious microwaves and sonic weapons are suspected as triggers.

The ill-fated “Unit 29155.”

However, a research consortium consisting of Russia-based investigative platform Insider based in Riga, Latvia, US CBS investigative format 60 Minutes, and German news magazine Spiegel, now claims to have found new leads. Which leads to Russia.

According to them, “Unit 29155” of the Russian military intelligence service GRU is said to be behind this mysterious phenomenon. Insider wrote on Monday about the “years of research” that led to the discovery. Der Spiegel magazine reported that members of the intelligence unit received rewards for developing “non-lethal acoustic weapons.”

The Kremlin lacks solid evidence

Moscow denied this on Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the topic of “Havana Syndrome” is not new at all. This has been exaggerated in the press for years, right from the beginning regarding the accusations against Russia.

However, Peskov said that no one has ever found or been able to provide “any convincing evidence of these baseless allegations.” His conclusion: This means that all of this is nothing more than baseless accusations made by the media against Russia.

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Head “like a vice”

However, Der Spiegel on Monday asked whether “Russian agents were using microwave weapons against American diplomats,” and in its report allowed a former CIA employee, who was working in Moscow at the time, to say: By speaking on behalf of the person. affected. He spoke of sudden vague complaints and feeling as if his head was tied “as if in a vice.”

Research platform Insider, which sees “the Kremlin's notorious sabotage unit” behind the “Havana Syndrome”, also asked on Monday what exactly Washington knows about the reasons behind it and “what the appropriate response from the West would be.”

The tracking remains mysterious

“60 Minutes” also reported on Monday about a “lead” after a five-year search, with an FBI investigator speaking as the affected person. Those affected are frustrated that the government in Washington officially suspects that a hostile force is targeting American citizens.

The truth is that US intelligence services have extensively studied “Havana Syndrome” and its possible causes. It was said last year that it was unlikely such a hostile force was behind mysterious complaints among embassy staff in the Cuban capital in 2016.

The American secret services have been more cautious so far

Insider wants to know about cases before 2016. Two years before that, in 2014, there were already cases in Frankfurt, Germany, and one of the cases involved a US government official who suddenly lost consciousness. In 2021, the US Congress passed a law (“Havana Law”) allowing financial compensation for those affected by the mysterious syndrome.

But in 2022, the CIA reported that its investigations had so far found no evidence that any hostile force was responsible for the mysterious symptoms. But doubts have also been raised about these investigations. Last year, a US intelligence investigation reached a similar conclusion.

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