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60 Minutes: Russia Could Be Behind Havana Syndrome Cases That Targeted U.S. Officials

The report adds that high-ranking members of Unit 29155 received awards and promotions for work related to the development of “non-lethal acoustic weapons.”
Russia could be behind The "Havana Syndrome", reveals investigation | ADN America collage
Russia could be behind The “Havana Syndrome”, reveals investigation | ADN America collage

Members of a unit of the Russian military intelligence (GRU) known as 29155 could be behind the 'Havana Syndrome', which affected U.S. personnel in various parts of the world, the Insider, a Russia-focused investigative media group based in Riga, Latvia reported after a yearlong investigation.

The 29155 is a notorious assassination and sabotage squad of the GRU, Moscow’s military intelligence service which gained significant attention due to its involvement in various covert operations and destabilization activities around the world. Unit 29155 has been implicated in several high-profile cases, including the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K., interference in elections in Europe, and involvement in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The investigation, conducted in conjunction with 60 Minutes and Der Spiegel, indicates that members of this unit were present in some of the locations where these health incidents occurred and the attacks may have their origin in the use of directed energy weapons wielded by members of Russian GRU Unit 29155.

The report adds that high-ranking members of Unit 29155 received awards and promotions for work related to the development of "non-lethal acoustic weapons."

Furthermore, the text states that the first episode related to symptoms of the 'Havana Syndrome' may have occurred before 2016, the date when these events became public.

In 2016, US diplomats and their support staff at the embassy in Havana reported hearing strange sounds, constant pulses of pressure in their heads, and a series of other odd physical sensations. In some cases, diplomats noticed a significant deterioration in their hearing and vision.

Additionally, Canadian diplomats serving in the Cuban capital also reported similar symptoms.

Doctors appointed by the Department of State said at the time that brain scans of 21 affected US individuals showed structural changes in the brain that had not been identified or linked to any known disorder.

Insider now highlights that "there were likely attacks two years earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, when a U.S. government employee stationed at the consulate there was rendered unconscious by something resembling a powerful energy beam."

Reactions from the Cuban-American community were swift on Monday.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez commented to X:

"Never underestimate the despicable dictatorship in #Havana and its willingness to actively undermine the United States. Communist #Cuba collaborated with #Russia to attack U.S. intelligence officials. The regime must face consequences for its actions.

He then added, "As the only Cuban-born Member of Congress & the US Representative for the Cuban-American community, I’m calling on President Biden to hold the dictatorship in #Cuba accountable for collaborating with #Russia to actively target & kill US officials. #HavanaSyndrome."

As reported in 2018 by The New Yorker, Cuban dictator Raúl Castro claimed that a third country was responsible for these attacks and then denied it. Since that time, US officials have suspected the Russian government.

In this regard, it emerged in February of this year that the 'Havana Syndrome' would be subject to thorough scrutiny by the House Intelligence Committee.

This condition caused debilitating symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and cognitive problems in dozens of US officials stationed to carry out missions around the world.

The report also recounts the case of a Florida-based FBI case officer who began experiencing the same symptoms during interrogation. This officer was interrogating Vitalii Kovalev, a renowned Russian chef who was discovered to have also been serving as an undercover technical officer for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service.

Kovalev was apprehended after a car chase in Florida in June 2020, and evidence emerged indicating that, alongside his culinary career, he had been operating as a Russian spy. Interestingly, one of the FBI agents who interviewed Kovalev after his arrest later suffered symptoms of the Havana Syndrome. According to the latest report by The Insider, 60 Minutes, and Der Spiegel, this phenomenon may have been caused by a directed energy weapon wielded by the GRU itself.

One of the two technologies that scientists, including those tasked by the U.S. intelligence community to probe Havana Syndrome, have posited as the potential cause of the condition is pulsed microwave radiation. The other is acoustic sound. Both of these methods could lead to the victim perceiving audible sounds, hums, and clicks through a phenomenon known as the Frey Effect, named after Allan H. Frey, the American scientist who initially documented the microwave auditory effect.

Russia has been conducting experiments with both technologies for decades.

"A Soviet patent from 1974 was issued to a military unit that developed – and claimed to have successfully tested – a “non-lethal device inducing sleep in the target via the use of radio-waves.” A series of studies by Soviet and Russian scientists from 1991 to 2012 focused on the transmission of simulated auditory information to targets using ultra-high radio frequencies.", the Inside report explains.

The investigation further explains how a consensus is emerging within the growing community of individuals affected by AHI (Acquired Havana Illness) that the U.S. government, particularly the CIA, is concealing the complete extent of its knowledge regarding the origins of Havana Syndrome.

Victims propose two general hypotheses to explain this.

Firstly, they suggest that divulging comprehensive intelligence regarding Russian involvement might be so alarming that it could persuade the American public and their representatives that Moscow has perpetrated an act of war against the United States. This would consequently raise difficult questions about how to hold a nuclear power, known for flaunting its hypersonic missiles, accountable.

Secondly, admitting that Havana Syndrome is caused by a foreign adversary could discourage recruitment to the CIA and State Department.

Russia and Cuba's espionage and military cooperation have continued well beyond the Cold War. Today, Russia has reactivated the military base in Lourdes (Cuba) for espionage activities against the United States.

Following the protests on July 11, 2021, on the island, General Andrei Gushchin was dispatched to the island, where he led a group of Russian military intelligence (GRU) specialists who posed as diplomats.

The group also included graduates from specialized technical universities in missile defense, computer science, and mathematics. Among other Russian sanctioned generals in Cuba is Sergey Menyailo. This general was also sanctioned by the EU and the U.K. in October 2020 for his involvement with the Novichok group in the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Add this at the end: More than 100 cases of AHI have been reported globally, affecting American spies, diplomats, military officers, contractors, and, in some instances, their spouses, children, and even pets. Confirmed medical symptoms have been documented as far away as Guangzhou, China, and as close to home as Washington, D.C.

One victim was a senior official in the National Security Council during the Trump era, who experienced temporary aphasia and numbness right outside the Eisenhower Executive Building in mid-November 2020. Another victim was the then-deputy chief of staff to CIA Director Bill Burns, who was affected in Delhi in September 2021, prompting Burns to shorten official visits to India and Pakistan.

In the same year, the Biden Administration enacted the Havana Act, providing six-figure compensation to confirmed AHI victims.

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