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posted by martyb on Saturday January 15, @12:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the curiouser-and-curiouser dept.

'Havana syndrome': US baffled after new cases in Europe

Four more US diplomats working in Geneva and Paris have fallen ill with a suspected neurological illness known as "Havana syndrome", US media report. Three diplomats became sick in the Swiss city and one in the French capital last summer, with some 200 people affected over five years.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the American government was working to get to the bottom of the mystery. There are fears an adversary may have targeted diplomats with microwaves. Mr Blinken said the issue had been raised with Russia but no determination had been made.

[...] A more innocent, but also unproven, theory is that those who got sick suffered from a mass condition brought on by some stressful underlying situation.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Pulsed Energy Devices Raised as Possible Cause of "Havana Syndrome" 35 comments

Havana Syndrome could be caused by pulsed energy devices – US expert report

A US intelligence report by a panel of expert scientists has named pulsed electromagnetic energy and ultrasound as plausible causes for the mystery Havana Syndrome symptoms suffered by US diplomats and spies in recent years.

The report found that a group of cases could not be explained by health or environmental factors or by psychosomatic illness. It also said that devices exist with “modest energy requirements” which were concealable and could produce the observed symptoms and be effective over hundreds of meters or through walls.

The panel, established last year by the director of national security, Avril Haines, and the CIA director, William Burns, said the investigation was not tasked to identify a culprit, but in a statement accompanying the report, Haines and Burns said it would help sharpen the search for the origins of they mysterious ailments.

“We will stay at it, with continued rigor, for however long it takes,” they said.

Also at BBC and CNN.

Previously:
"Havana Syndrome": U.S. Baffled After New Cases in Europe
CIA Finds No Evidence of a Foreign Adversary Causing "Havana Syndrome"


Original Submission

CIA Finds No Evidence of a Foreign Adversary Causing "Havana Syndrome" 25 comments

U.S. foe or specific weapon not behind sustained, global campaign causing 'Havana Syndrome,' CIA finds

A U.S. adversary is not engaged in a sustained global campaign aimed at harming or collecting intelligence on hundreds of American diplomats serving abroad, according to an interim CIA finding on the so-called Havana Syndrome.

But there remain a significant number of cases that the agency cannot yet attribute to a specific source. The interim finding, described to POLITICO by three intelligence officials, does not rule out the possibility that a foreign actor or a sophisticated weapon is behind a specific, smaller number of mysterious incidents that have stumped U.S. officials for more than five years.

The new CIA-prepared interim finding assesses that the vast majority of reported cases can be explained by medical, environmental or technical factors — including previously undiagnosed illnesses — and that it is "unlikely" that a malicious state actor is inflicting purposeful harm on U.S. diplomats on a far-reaching, worldwide scale. The broader intelligence community has varying levels of confidence in that assessment.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MostCynical on Saturday January 15, @01:17AM (31 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday January 15, @01:17AM (#1212817) Journal

    Have any other countries reported similar effects?

    Does the US regularly use any jamming equipment (bug blockers, white noise generators) in embassies?

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:44AM (#1212826)

      Considering the diversity of locations where folks have been affected, it seems hard to dismiss that it is something systematic from how the US does an embassy.

      The most plausable possible was the use of ultrasonics to jamb audio recording.

      But reality might be something mundane like the water, laundary or liquor supply?

    • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by ikanreed on Saturday January 15, @02:36AM (22 children)

      by ikanreed (3164) on Saturday January 15, @02:36AM (#1212839) Journal

      Every single person who's visited quack doctor who administers fake treatments has reported similar effects.

      It's the classic bundle of psychosomatic symptoms: headache, fatigue, digestive issues, depression, lethargy, in arbitrary mixes, with no physical abnormalities present. The quacks call it "chronic lime" or "misaligned vertebrae" or "qi imbalance" or "toxins" depending on their flavor of quackery.

      Overdone meme. [ikanreed.net]

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:00AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:00AM (#1212851)

        I read an article that reported that right before the original cases, that the US had sprayed pesticide inside the building where the affected people worked.

        So, maybe original cases were more than psychosomatic. But, everything after has the hallmarks of mass hysteria (or possibly more propaganda by the US to "justify" US's increasingly hostile policy toward Russia).

        Couldn't find the article that said pesticide spraying occurred, but this article states that the symptoms are consistent with pesticide exposure:

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191003111753.htm [sciencedaily.com]

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Saturday January 15, @03:16PM (2 children)

          by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 15, @03:16PM (#1212926) Journal

          This sure smells like a very similar problem, so ingenuously called Colony Collapse Disorder. Entire bee hives were dying, and the cause was a Big F'ing Mystery. Except it wasn't a mystery. It was pesticides. Neonics. I mean, DUH, insecticides can't discriminate between pest insects and bees. The ones pushing the notion that it was a mystery were the insecticide peddlers.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:11AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:11AM (#1213088)

            So you're saying it's pesticides? What are you saying?

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Sunday January 16, @11:09PM

              by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 16, @11:09PM (#1213276) Journal

              There's been a Cambrian Explosion number of new chemicals introduced relatively recently, as in, over the last couple of centuries. Ever since we figured out the Periodic Table and DNA, and grew much more powerful, making mining, metallurgy, and plastic production a lot easier, we've flooded society with all kinds of novel substances that we've hastened to harness for our use, without bothering to carefully check the safety. What makes it so tricky is that many of these substances are sleepers, their harmful effects very slight and taking a long time and a lot of exposure to build up to serious levels. Radiation poisoning we figured out fairly fast, because it acts fairly fast and is highly damaging.

              Worse, is that those who have a special interest in a particular substance have shown, over and over and over, that they do all they can to deny the dangers. They lie. When they learn of the dangers, they bury what they've learned. They even run propaganda campaigns, and discourage independent research on the safety. When it becomes excruciatingly obvious, they keep right on lying and denying. The behavior of the U.S. Radium Corp. is a case in point. Big Tobacco is perhaps the most notorious, for now. In the near future, that may be strongly eclipsed by Big Oil. More than 50 years ago, those bastards knew hydrocarbon exhaust was building up in the atmosphere, knew that was going to cause trouble, and instead of putting their enormous resources towards solutions, they spent it on disinformation campaigns while the problem steadily worsened.

              One thing that is awfully convenient and way too effective is blaming the victims. It's your own fault you're overweight. And while lifestyle does have a large bearing on obesity, it is hardly the only factor. Or it's your genes, you have bad genes, tough luck, sorry! Nope, doesn't have a thing to do with Bisphenol A, phthalates, and other plastics.

              And, yes, pesticide and herbicide manufacturers do it too: lie, obfuscate, and confuse. One of the most notorious cases of herbicide use run amok was the profligate use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War. I certainly would take a very hard look at this practice of using pesticides in US embassies, and I strongly suspect that the speculation in the article about the cause of Havana Syndrome being the pesticides is correct.

              One of the greatest books of the 20th century is Silent Spring. Chemical companies hate that book, for exposing their recklessness in pushing dangerous chemicals into daily public use. Some of that stuff, now gone, was Scotchgard, Energine, and, incredibly, plain old lead and mercury. Used to make toy figurines, sinkers, plum bobs, and bullets out of lead. The brass alloy used for plumbing fixtures typically was 5% lead, until the 2010s. Mercury was used in thermometers, thermostats, blood pressure measurements, and dental fillings. That use in dental fillings is perhaps not enough to harm patients, but it likely does harm the dentists who worked with that on a daily basis. WE aren't totally sure, thanks in no small part to the efforts to suppress research on the matter. Mercury is what made mad hatters mad.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:02AM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:02AM (#1212853)

        misaligned vertebrae

        https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l689 [bmj.com]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @12:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @12:02PM (#1212899)

          Kind of depends on what the chiropractor is claiming to do. If your chiropractor says he can help your back pain, that's probably true. But if he says he can cure your allergies, that probably isn't.

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:55PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:55PM (#1212937)

          Republican Politicians are immune.

        • (Score: 1, Redundant) by ikanreed on Saturday January 15, @05:09PM (5 children)

          by ikanreed (3164) on Saturday January 15, @05:09PM (#1212951) Journal

          It's there a subluxation that will treat your inability to recognize what a post is about? The words "back pain" never came up in my post

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:53PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:53PM (#1212962)

            Wow way to get triggered. You mentioned quacks calling something "misal8gned vertebrae" and got a link about a real condition and its possible symptoms. Chill out.

            • (Score: 5, Informative) by ikanreed on Sunday January 16, @01:06AM (3 children)

              by ikanreed (3164) on Sunday January 16, @01:06AM (#1213042) Journal

              Chiropracters are, overwhelmingly and only with the rarest exceptions, complete quacks.

              I was just sharing that truth, chill out.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:14AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:14AM (#1213089)

                That's not what my astrologist says. I think I'll go with the Moon Crystals rather than any bullshit off the Intranet.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @02:20PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @02:20PM (#1213129)

                Well that just shows how dumb you are. Chiropractics may be overblown but misalignments of the skeletal system are very real. Take your lumps duck boy.

                • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Monday January 17, @01:29AM

                  by ikanreed (3164) on Monday January 17, @01:29AM (#1213292) Journal

                  Skeletal "misalignments"* are not treated by chiropractic "medicine"

                  *A very wide variety of fairly specific conditions that do not fall into a single bucket of being treated by sublaxations, a fantasy treatment method based on nothing but some 19th century douchebag's intution.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:08PM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:08PM (#1212913)

        The underlying cause is civil servants with gold-plated medical plan who can look forward to a few weeks of paid vacation if they develop this syndrome.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:56PM (7 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:56PM (#1212924)

          I'm a civil servant. What this "gold plated" medical plan of which you speak? Apparently I'm missing out. And what's this "paid vacation" as well? You think there is some set aside pot of money? If I'm sick and I take time off, it comes out of my sick pay. So I suppose my "paid vacation" is paid, but it is paid by me. If I have used up my leave, I get put on leave without pay and I don't get paid.

          I don't understand how you dipshits manage to stay so angry all the time about obviously disprovable lies. If you want to be an ignorant dumbass, that's great, but why would you want to be an angry ignorant dumbass?

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:43PM (6 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:43PM (#1212931)

            >> it comes out of my sick pay.

            "Sick pay", Could you explain this concept to the person working at Burger King who doesn't get an allotment of days that they can be paid to play sick? You entitled civil servants are sickening.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:59PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @03:59PM (#1212938)

              I don't have time now, but I'll let any one of the other people holding "regular" jobs explain it to you. I don't understand the anger vented at civil servants and the implication that they have "gold plated" plans over all others when the majority of skilled jobs have this benefit, blue collar or white collar. The fact that you don't get this benefit on a minimum wage job is a valid topic of discussion, but it doesn't excuse your stupidity and ignorance (you own those yourself).

              • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @07:51PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @07:51PM (#1212986)

                "civil servants"? lmao. You work for the enemies of this nation. You are also engaged in organized crime. If you have to use the threat of force to get your paycheck, then that is not a job. That is a crime, and it has a name: Extortion.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:18AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:18AM (#1213090)

                  don't fuck with the librarians' money, they'll f*cking break your f*cking library card

            • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:07PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:07PM (#1212940)

              Oh look at the Burger King benefits [benefitspro.org]. GED reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, health care, paid time off. I didn't realize what entitled bastards these people were. I'm definitely not going there any more and subsidizing these arrogant assholes.

              I suggest you reach out to your local Burger King employee and they can explain these "sick benefits" of which you are too stupid to understand. Perhaps if you made better life choices you wouldn't let your jealousy drive you to such hate. I pity you.

              • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:48PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:48PM (#1212960)

                Yeah I wonder when rightwing libertarain doody heads will once again value the truth over trolling the net to annoy people with their make believe.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @12:00AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @12:00AM (#1213498)

              If you hadn't dropped out of elementary school you could have a better job.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday January 15, @04:05AM (3 children)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday January 15, @04:05AM (#1212854)

      Have they recently switched/updated their jamming equipment? Or have new wireless frequencies rolled out during that time? I'm wondering if constructive interference from continuous emitters could show up as a frequency that could cause these symptoms.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @09:37AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @09:37AM (#1212887)

        five gee, nuff said.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:20AM (#1213091)

          microchips in the membrane. thanks bill gates. nuff said.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @08:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @08:18PM (#1213236)

        Constructive interference won't change the frequency, it only increases the amplitude of existing frequencies.

    • (Score: 2) by Mojibake Tengu on Saturday January 15, @04:46AM (1 child)

      by Mojibake Tengu (8598) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 15, @04:46AM (#1212861) Journal
      --
      The edge of 太玄 cannot be defined, for it is beyond every aspect of design
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by kazzie on Saturday January 15, @09:44AM

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 15, @09:44AM (#1212888)

        Far more deadly than the Old rosis.

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Sunday January 16, @04:27AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Sunday January 16, @04:27AM (#1213073)

      I've also wondered why this seems to be linked to only U.S. State Dept. missions. Is it just coincidence? My own thinking is that there is a likelihood that low bid contractor security installations could be at fault.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:25AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:25AM (#1212818)

    They're playing sick to get days off, cuz the CIA is so evil they have to waste our tax dollars on top of using them!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @01:29AM (#1212821)

      TDS

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @02:02PM (#1212911)

    maybe 'murikans get sick if they eat beef that hasn't been grown on 'murikan soil w/ 'murikan feed/grass?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:41PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @04:41PM (#1212946)

    After several years of this how hard is it to put microwave detectors in all embassies and at least eliminate this hypothetical cause? Certainly isn't a cost issue
    https://www.amazon.com/Extech-EMF300-Microwave-Leakage-Detector/dp/B00M9AX2RM?th=1 [amazon.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:50PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, @05:50PM (#1212961)

      Who would pay nearly $200 for that trash?

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday January 17, @06:35PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 17, @06:35PM (#1213436) Journal

        Amazon and/or the vendor probably maintain a list which would answer your question.

        --
        While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:24AM (#1213092)

      It's useful propaganda. Helps with paranoia and conspiracy mongering - there's a BOOGIE man out there. Quick, watch some television I believe Lock Up and Cops are on marathon.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, @10:57AM (#1213099)

    Yes, the very secretive spooks decide that whenever something like the so-called Havana Syndrome occurs, the first thing they do it release a public statement and thereby publicly announce their incompetence and stupidity to the world.

    Isn't that exactly what you would do if you ran a similar organization?

    Or would you keep it a secret and not let the Havana Syndrome perpetrator know that you are on to them?

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