Saturday, February 27, 2021

Havana syndrome. US did not take symptoms of diplomats seriously

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A disqualified report on the mysterious symptoms experienced by diplomats in Cuba reveals that the initial response from the United States government was insufficient.

At the end of 2016, after being surprised by a high-pitched and persistent noise, several American diplomats who served at the Cuban Embassy fell ill, showing symptoms that included headaches, earaches, vertigo, nausea and hearing loss.

According to a previously classified report, which was completed in June 2018, the State Department answered badly mysterious health incidents that affected US diplomats in Cuba, writes the ABC.

United States staff has been fighting the Government to ask for greater support, including for the persistent health problems that many suffer under what has become known as the “Havana syndrome”. Doctors found that Americans suffered traumatic brain injuries, with symptoms ranging from headaches and vision problems to cognitive deficits and dizziness.

The internal report is highly critical of the Trump administration’s response. “The State Department’s response to these incidents was characterized by the lack of leadership senior, ineffective communication e systemic disorganization“, Concluded the report.

The report also revealed new details about how Washington handled the issue and what it saw medically from examining patients. Altogether, he documented brain injuries in 24 people. That number does not include the 14 Canadians who also suffered from Havana Syndrome.

“The affected individuals had varying combinations of cognitive, vestibular and oculomotor dysfunction, as well as sleep disorders and headaches,” reads the report. “These individuals appear to have suffered lesions in generalized brain networks with an associated history of head trauma ”.

According to the report, the State Department waited six weeks after learning about the incident to inform Embassy staff and did not tell their families. “The Council considers it regrettable the delay of almost six weeks between the first knowledge of the injury and the first briefing Embassy staff ”.

As a result of the attacks, Canada withdrew his diplomats from Cuba and the United States terminated CIA operations in the area and have since run the embassy with a small team.

“The decision to reduce the team in Havana does not appear to have followed standard State Department procedures and was not preceded or followed by any formal analysis of the risks and benefits of the continued presence of doctors from US government officials in Havana,” he reads. up in the document.

The report includes a similar incident that occurred in China in May 2018. “There is a clinically confirmed report about an official at the Guangzhou Consulate who described incidents in Guangzhou, China, similar to those experienced by members of the Havana Embassy community and whose injuries were confirmed by medical experts to match those of Havana victims.”

Until today, the Havana Syndrome it’s still a mystery. “We don’t know what happened, when it happened, who did it or why,” says the report.

An unsolved mystery

Since US diplomats in Havana began to report strange sounds they heard in their homes, several theories have emerged about what may have happened. There is a version of “sonic attack”, crickets and even collective hysteria.

Due to the incident, Washington reduced the staff diplomatic by more than 50% and accused the Cuban authorities of carrying out “sonic attacks. This accusation has been questioned by several experts who argue that no one has yet been able to create these ultrasonic weapons. Cuba has always rejected this hypothesis.

In January 2019, a team of scientists from the University of California at Berkeley, in the United States, and from the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom, pointed out that the phenomenon may have been produced by a chirping of crickets.

According to the study, the noise belonged to short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus), an insect very famous for its grunts during mating. However, the study was also questioned, with scientists saying that the sound of the insect alone was not capable of causing such symptoms.

Other experts argue that diplomats may have suffered a phenomenon of collective hysteria.

A study by Canadian scientists at the Brain Repair Center at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Department of Health in 2019 pointed out that the culprits could be chemicals used to combat insects.

Last December, a report by a committee of the American National Academy of Sciences suggested that the mysterious symptoms could be related to direct exposure to “microwave” radiation.

Maria Campos Maria Campos, ZAP //

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