Pentagon blames Russia for mystery illness affecting US troops

The Pentagon has investigated the incidents, and has privately told lawmakers it believes Moscow is behind them

Nathan Place
New York
Thursday 22 April 2021 22:11
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<p>The Pentagon has investigated a series of mysterious incidents in which US diplomats and troops have fallen ill</p>

The Pentagon has investigated a series of mysterious incidents in which US diplomats and troops have fallen ill

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US military leaders believe Russia is behind a series of suspected “directed energy” attacks causing illness in US troops and diplomats, unnamed officials have told Politico.

According to the news site, the Pentagon has been investigating the incidents since last year, and has now briefed top lawmakers on the matter.

The first suspected attack was in 2016 in Havana, Cuba. Employees of the US embassy there reported having headaches, ringing in their ears, and loss of hearing, memory, and balance. Some suffered long-term brain damage.

The source of the mysterious illness, known as the “Havana syndrome,” was hard to pin down. But soon CIA officers began reporting the same symptoms in China, Russia, and other countries. Since 2016, almost 50 American officials have fallen ill with the syndrome.

While Donald Trump was president, his administration accused Cuba of “targeted attacks,” but played down the issue elsewhere.

But in December last year, a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said the most likely source of the illness was “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy.”

According to a New York Times analysis, that language is crucial. By using words like “pulsed” and “directed,” the report was saying the energy wasn’t randomly emanated by a cellphone or other device. It was being aimed at people.

In the fall of 2020, a number of US troops in Syria developed mysterious flu-like symptoms, similar to those of the Havana syndrome. According to Politico, the Pentagon has now told top members of Congress that it suspects a Russian-directed energy attack was responsible.

Russia has denied any responsibility.

So far, those in Congress who know this new information have not been willing to discuss it in public.

“I think that’s a question that has to have answers,” Senator Marco Rubio told Politico regarding the suspected attacks on US troops. “And beyond that, we’ve all seen some of these attacks on diplomatic facilities. I don’t want to link the two, but again, I just can’t comment on any of that.”

“I know that we’re going to be having a discussion, a briefing on that,” said Senator Jim Inhofe, who is on the Armed Services Committee, “and frankly, it’s going to be confidential. So let’s wait and see.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who is also on that committee, would not divulge any details but said Americans had a right to more information.

“On a number of topics where we have been briefed in a classified setting, I think the American people need and deserve to know more,” he said.

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