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The Silent War: Unmasking Havana Syndrome and the Spread of AHIs

The Silent War: Unmasking Havana Syndrome and the Spread of AHIs


In 2017, the Russia-based Institute for Prospective Military Studies dedicated its annual award to a military engineer for designing a “non-lethal acoustic weapon suitable for use in urban combat.” This engineer was also a high-ranking member of Russia’s main intelligence directorate, the GRU, specifically its clandestine sabotage and assassination unit 29155. Following this accolade, President Putin promoted this individual as his representative in a Far Eastern province, a rare honor generally reserved for agents after they achieve a major “success” in kinetic covert operations. Putin originally founded the Institute for Prospective Military Studies in 2013 to develop “weapons based on new physical properties including ray weapons and wave weapons.” Within a couple of years, American diplomatic, military, and intelligence officials started falling ill under mysterious circumstances at home and abroad.

Most people know this phenomenon as Havana Syndrome, scientifically termed anomalous health incidents (AHIs). The issue first entered the spotlight in 2016 when CIA personnel stationed in America’s embassy in Havana started reporting intense headaches, ringing in the ears, and fatigue. Since then, over 1,000 incidents have emerged on every continent. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, victims have suffered dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and cognitive difficulties, with some experiencing rare cancers, heart conditions, and, unfortunately, death.

Conclusive evidence has never emerged, and possible explanations have ranged from work-related duress to mass psychogenic illness (Epidemic hysteria) or even the sounds made by crickets. At a recent congressional hearing on AHIs, however, one of the witnesses noted their study indicated at least 68 of the incidents cannot be explained by pre-existing conditions or psychosomatic symptoms. They affirmed that the aggregate scientific, intelligence, and medical evidence substantiates claims that these AHIs are the result of a foreign adversary. More specifically, the reported symptoms are consistent with “wave weapons.” As the witnesses see it, Russia is this foreign adversary.

Russia has a long-running R&D program on acoustic and electromagnetic directed-energy emission devices used for lethal and non-lethal purposes. During the Moscow Signal incident of the Cold War, around 350 American embassy employees in Moscow experienced symptoms similar to those today between 1953 and 1976. While most information regarding AHIs remains strictly confidential, declassified documents show that  Soviet intelligence aimed microwave radiation at the U.S. embassy, detected through frequency bands.

The recent congressional testimonies by individuals with top-secret security clearances suggest a similar pattern of events today. They charge that high-powered microwave systems are bathing the living quarters of American officials to gradually induce auditory and sensory-motor impairments. Such methods are covert and leave little trace. The last two years have shown that Russia possesses the means and, more importantly, the motives to pursue such acts. Additionally, there is more evidence than just the Institute for Prospective Military Studies.

One witness mentioned a medical research facility in Saint Petersburg with recorded links to unit 29155. This facility also happens to research the consequences of ultra and infrasound frequencies on the brain. Given its sustained communication with military scientists, unit 29155 is the plausible executor if Russia is behind Havana Syndrome. The unit is known for offensive terror actions, including the Salisbury Poisonings and a series of explosions at NATO ammunition facilities throughout the 2010s. Most crucially, an AHI investigation established that members of unit 29155 were in proximity of confirmed AHI incidents on at least four occasions. Further revelations will likely follow.

While evidence points to Russia, the U.S. government’s response has left conflicting or puzzling messages to the public. According to a March 2023 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, most intelligence agencies deem it “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary is behind AHIs. However, interviews with agency officials reveal low confidence or outright disagreement with that assessment. One of the recent congressional witnesses, who has a top-secret security clearance, said that the classified material he personally reviewed “directly contradicts” the public statements from the Executive Branch on the origins and extent of AHIs. He also said numerous agencies have withheld information from sister agencies and intentionally neglected critical evidence that would implicate a foreign adversary.

These discrepancies hint at a possible cover-up within the U.S. government, although there are legitimate reasons for deliberately withholding such information. Perhaps the government refuses to release the truth to prevent the weapon’s proliferation. While the witnesses did not divulge specific details due to classification, they did mention that the weapon is small enough to fit in a backpack. However, the revelation that certain agencies are refusing to share pertinent information with sister agencies invariably fuels conspiracy theories regarding the nefarious deep state.

Whatever the reason may be, the irresolute response by the American executive branch feels like a whitewashing for the victims and their families. Whether Russia or another adversary is responsible, they are targeting America’s best and the brightest. Most of the victims hope to return to work one day, but many will never fully recover. The lack of clarity surrounding this issue is why the recent congressional hearing was held–to shed light on AHIs and spur elected representatives to take action. Government-provided healthcare is the most evident policy option, and it is Congress’s job to ensure available funding.

As to whether a specific perpetrator will ever be identified, only time will tell.