Military scientists are planning experiments on primates involving pulsed microwaves to look for links to Havana Syndrome, report says

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
People walk past the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba

  • US military scientists are reportedly planning experiments to look for the cause of Havana Syndrome.
  • The scientists plan to expose primates to pulsed microwave radiation and study their brains.
  • Havana Syndrome is the nickname for the mysterious brain injuries US personnel have suffered.
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Scientists at a US military laboratory are planning to experiment on primates to investigate possible causes of the mysterious brain injures, nicknamed “Havana Syndrome,” that American spies, diplomats, officials, and even military personnel have suffered both at home and abroad, according to a report from The New Yorker.

US national security agencies are trying to figure out an effective countermeasure for whatever is causing these episodes, which have involved the sudden and inexplicable appearance of severe headaches, tinnitus, loss of vision or hearing, dizziness, and other issues, The New Yorker wrote Monday.

As part of the experiments to determine what could be behind these incidents, military scientists reportedly plan to expose primates to pulsed microwave radiation and study their brains.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported last year that “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy,” including microwave radiation, is “the most plausible mechanism,” according to The New York Times.

That report has led to speculation that the unusual episodes could be the result of some sort of microwave weapon, though that theory has been called into question from some experts.

Cheryl Rofer, a chemist who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for more than three decades, wrote in a recent Foreign Policy article that “the evidence for microwave effects of the type categorized as Havana syndrome is exceedingly weak.”

An Office of the Director of National Intelligence spokeswoman told The Times that “as of now, we have no definitive information about the cause of these incidents, and it is premature and irresponsible to speculate.” That said, a Biden administration National Security Council spokeswoman said that “we are bringing the US government’s resources to bear to get to the bottom of this.”

Havana Syndrome incidents were first reported among embassy staff in Cuba in 2016. US personnel reported experiencing brain injuries from what’s believed to be directed-energy attacks.

Since then, more than 130 incidents have been reported in not just Cuba, but also China and elsewhere, including the US, though officials have said unrelated conditions may have been conflated with the supposed Havana Syndrome.

Ryan Pickrell contributed to this report.

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