Havana syndrome

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So...Havana syndrome. The mystery illness affecting diplomats, CIA agents, and other American operatives in foreign countries, so named because it was first observed in diplomats in Havana.

At first, it was alleged that these incidents were only occurring in "hostile" countries like Cuba, China, and Russia. But now, there are reports out of Vienna, and even D.C. and the surrounding suburbs. But what the cases all have in common is that the sufferers are government employees.


The prevailing theory is that the syndrome is caused by some kind of microwave weapon, potentially developed by Russia. Skeptics are saying it's psychosomatic and a result of mass hysteria.

What is your theory on what is causing it, who is behind it, and why? Or do you think it's all complete BS (and why)?
 

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So...Havana syndrome. The mystery illness affecting diplomats, CIA agents, and other American operatives in foreign countries, so named because it was first observed in diplomats in Havana.

At first, it was alleged that these incidents were only occurring in "hostile" countries like Cuba, China, and Russia. But now, there are reports out of Vienna, and even D.C. and the surrounding suburbs. But what the cases all have in common is that the sufferers are government employees.


The prevailing theory is that the syndrome is caused by some kind of microwave weapon, potentially developed by Russia. Skeptics are saying it's psychosomatic and a result of mass hysteria.

What is your theory on what is causing it, who is behind it, and why? Or do you think it's all complete BS (and why)?

Hmmm.

I wonder.

Microwaves?

My first comment or observation would be to ask whether any diplomats from any other country, (not just western), or organisation (EU, for example) have suffered anything similar.

And my second would be to examine exactly how the US differs in how it chooses to deploy diplomats from how other countries do this.

Now, I've been to a number of different US embassies, in an official capacity. And, I have also had reason to visit (again, officially) embassies from other countries - (Brits, Germans, Chinese, Russians, South Korean, Dutch, Irish, EUDEL - EU Delegation - i.e. EU embassies, to mention but a few - etc) in a number of different countries.

And, what has struck me (yes, yes, yes, I know that the US is a target) is how - irrespective of whether the US embassy in question is situated in a peaceful, advanced, country, or a developing country, or in an absolute basket case of a disintegrating, dysfunctional state, all US embassies look much the same; they are like small cities, the space - both psychological and physical, that they occupy is extraordinarily extensive - the security is intense, visible, and yes, extraordinary - and they are complete mini-fortresses. And they are bristling with weapons, equipment, protection and divinities only know what else.

Now, one may answer by saying that the US is a target - and yes, it is - but, with the striking exception of countries such as Afghanistan (and Somalia, for that matter), - where it was necessary for excellent and unfortunately well-known security reasons - I have never stayed or had to live in a guarded and gated compound when I served abroad, either when observing elections or when I worked with the EU.

Usually, we - that is, Europeans, - stayed in hotels, or rented an apartment if in a country (and this is not confined to western Europe, I've known colleagues who rented flats or apartments in countries such as Belarus, or Kyrgyzstan, or Kenya, or Russia, or Georgia, or Ukraine, when deployed for months or years in a place, in other words, places that no stretch of the imagination could class as fully functioning democracies).

In general, for European diplomats, when abroad (and this includes Russia), unless you are the Ambassador, or otherwise designated as Head of Mission, you don't usually live in the embassy building.

However, in my experience, an extraordinary number of Americans seem to live in their vast, massive, secured and extremely well fortified embassy compounds - which invariably resemble a small independent city state - irrespective of where the embassy is, or what country plays host to the Embassy; I'm not entirely sure that these are completely healthy environments.

Now, naturally enough, I would expect such "games" to be played in Moscow, but would be somewhat skeptical about such tales emanating from somewhere such as Vienna; first off, I'd look closer to home, - i.e. the embassy precincts, US equipment and living conditions - and and ask myself what it is (not necessarily inspired by "malign foreign elements") that may be causing this.
 
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Pumbaa

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Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it turns out to be a side effect of some fancy classified anti-surveillance system installed by the US.

Sure would make sense to install such a system in “hostile” locations first before expanding it to the remaining locations as the supply gets better, would it not? And Havana would surely be a good testing ground due to the geographical proximity.

Yeah, I made everything up on the spot here, but that doesn’t make it any less likely! 😜
 
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