Austria investigating after 2 dozen US officials in Vienna report Havana Syndrome symptoms

Vienna Austria
Vienna, Austria.

  • Two dozen US officials in Vienna have reported Havana Syndrome symptoms.
  • The ailment refers to mysterious neurological symptoms affecting US officials around the globe.
  • Scientists have long suspected the symptoms are caused by microwave radiation attacks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Austria is investigating reports of US diplomats and officials experiencing “unexplained health incidents” similar to the Havana Syndrome.

According to The New Yorker, two dozen US officials in Vienna have reported mysterious symptoms since Joe Biden took office in January, making it the second biggest hotspot aside from Havana.

The Havana Syndrome was first recorded in 2016 and 2017 when US officials in the Cuban capital reported inexplicable symptoms including migraines, vertigo, hearing loss, and other neurological problems.

Since then more than 130 US officials around the world have reported similar symptoms, including in China, Russia, and the US.

Researchers have said that patients have brain injuries consistent with head trauma.

Scientists have long suspected that the affliction is caused by microwave radiation attacks, although this has not been proven.

According to The New Yorker, CIA director William Burns has privately referred to the incidents as “attacks.”

During the Cold War, Austria’s neutrality and location meant that several other countries used it as a base for espionage.

Vienna still has a large diplomatic presence and is home to several major UN agencies and a European security body, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

According to Reuters, this has long made Vienna “a hub for diplomatic activity and spying.”

Austria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “working with the US authorities on jointly getting to the bottom of this.”

“We take these reports very seriously. The safety of the diplomats sent to Austria and their families is our top priority,” they said.

A US State Department spokesperson said they were “vigorously investigating” the incidents.

In June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a government-wide review investigating the causes of the mysterious ailment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US reportedly spied on Angela Merkel and other top European politicians with Denmark’s help

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • Denmark reportedly helped the US access the calls and texts of senior European officials, including Angela Merkel.
  • Denmark held an internal investigation into its partnership with the NSA between 2012 and 2014.
  • The country’s public broadcaster reported the findings of the investigation, citing nine unnamed sources.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Denmark’s foreign intelligence unit helped the US spy on European officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a report by Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) on Sunday.

In 2015, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) conducted an internal investigation – code-named “Operation Dunhammer” – into its partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to the report.

The investigation found that the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, France, and Germany between 2012 to 2014, according to DR’s report. The report cited nine unnamed sources with classified information from FE.

The NSA accessed calls, texts, and chat messages to and from officials’ telephones, the sources told DR.

In addition to Merkel, the NSA spied on former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbr├╝ck, according to the DR report.

The FE and the NSA didn’t provide comment on the DR report.

A spokesperson for the German chancellery told Reuters it only became aware of the NSA spying allegations when journalists asked them about the report, and declined to comment further.

Leaks by former NSA employee Edward Snowden alleged that the NSA tapped Merkel’s phone and spied on other countries. Snowden tweeted on Sunday that President Joe Biden was “deeply involved in this scandal the first time around” as he was vice-President when the reported spying took place.

Insider contacted the White House and the NSA for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

Read the original article on Business Insider

An Italian naval officer was arrested in the middle of meeting a Russian official to hand over secret documents, officials say

rome colisseum night
People wearing protective face masks take pictures in front of the Colosseum in Rome. Not related to this story.

  • Italian police say a naval officer was arrested while meeting with a Russian agent to hand over secret documents.
  • The two are suspected of “serious crimes tied to spying and state security,” police said.
  • Italian media reported that the trove included secret NATO documents.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An Italian naval officer was arrested while meeting with a Russian officer to hand him secret documents, police said, according to the BBC.

Police also said that they arrested the Russian diplomat, Reuters reported, and that the two individuals, who were not identified, were accused of “serious crimes tied to spying and state security,” according to Reuters.

The Italian regional newspaper Testata Giornalistica Regionale reported that the Italian officer was passing secret NATO documents to the Russian.

A police statement said the two were caught in Rome “during a clandestine meeting between the two, caught immediately after the transfer of a document by the Italian officer in exchange for a sum of money,” the BBC reported.

Italian special operations swooped in on the Tuesday night meeting in Rome, police said, according to the BBC.

Italy’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Russian ambassador Sergey Razov, according to Reuters.

The naval officer has been taken into custody, Reuters reported.

But the Russian diplomat has not yet been because of their status, and police are considering what actions to take, per Reuters.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk said Tesla vehicles are not spying on Chinese officials and that the company would be shut down if they were

Elon Musk on a China forum call.JPG
Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends via video link a session at the China Development Forum.

CEO Elon Musk on Saturday said Tesla would be “shut down” if it used cameras and other technology in its electric vehicles to spy on Chinese officials, according to Reuters.

“There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information,” Musk said on Saturday, speaking via video at the China Development Forum, an annual conference.

He added: “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.”

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese officials had moved to limit its military and state staffers from driving Teslas. Chinese officials were reportedly concerned about the presence of cameras in the vehicles, which could potentially be used to spy on officials.

Reuters on Friday reported that Tesla vehicles had been altogether banned from Chinese military locations.

Chinese officials raised concern about Tesla following a February investigation by the country’s State Administration for Market Regulation, Nikkei Asia reported.

The investigation had focused on rapid acceleration, battery fires, and other safety concerns, according to the report. Regulators also sought information about whether Chinese user data collected by Tesla was removed from the country, according to Nikkei Asia.

On Saturday, Musk said there would be “negative effects” for Tesla if it was spying, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Whether it’s Chinese or US, the negative effects if a commercial company did engage in spying-the negative effects for that company would be extremely bad,” he said.

Musk’s comments came as tensions rose between the two countries, with President Joe Biden’s administration taking a hardline approach to US-China relations.

In Biden’s first official call with President Xi Jinping, the American president underscored his concerns about “coercive and unfair economic practices,” according to the White House’s official readout of the call.

Biden’s call came a few days after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, called on China to end “abuses of the international system.”

At talks in Alaska on Thursday, Blinken had a heated exchange with China’s top diplomat.

Read the original article on Business Insider