by Tom McBride


Other than UFO sightings, few unexplained events have gotten as much attention as has the so-called HAVANA SYNDROME, a series of incidents reported especially by American (and some Canadian) diplomats all over the world. These personnel and their families say that they have experienced a wide array of symptoms, including disorientation, imbalance, nausea, confusion, concussion, deafness, and fatigue. A few of them have been unable to return to work, and a Congressional bill, bi-partisan, and signed by the president, has supplied benefits for American government employees who experience brain and heart injuries, Havana Syndrome is a cause for alarm and mystery. But it has not happened in a vacuum but in a mindset. It maps onto pre-existing American mindsets, which include the clashes of scientific authorities, conspiracy theories, post-Cold War politics, national security politics, and the silo-ing and rivalries of government agencies. Hence, THE MINDSET LIST OF HAVANA SYNDROME traces how a great enigma maps onto typical American assumptions, attitudes, and practices. It’s been said, of Scotland, that a country capable of producing Braveheart and Rob Roy can certainly produce a Loch Ness Monster. Is there anything about America that could produce a Havana Syndrome?  We have had a lot to say about the syndrome, but the syndrome has also had a lot to say about US. 

1 Just as the Spanish Flu got its name because Spain was the site of an early outbreak, so has Havana Syndrome gotten its moniker due to a high number of reported incidents among diplomats in Cuba’s capital city—but the Spaniards were never blamed for the flu. 

2 The second highest number of incidents has occurred in Vienna, but the term “Vienna Syndrome” has not caught on. 

3 Donald Trump said the Cubans were to blame for Havana Syndrome but has never said the Russians are. 

4   A major advisor to Trump said microwave ovens could easily be used for spying, 

5 A reputable group of scientists has concluded that microwave energy, possibly used for eavesdropping or stealing information stored on computers or phones, is the most likely cause of Havana Syndrome, 

6. HS, reportedly affecting about a thousand persons, has been investigated by the State Department, FBI, Department of Defense, CIA, NSA, and the Royal Mounted Police. 

7   HS sometimes begins with strange noises, which have been compared to those heard when driving a car with the window down. 

8 The Cuban government’s scientists have concluded that these sounds likely come from a species of cricket native to the island and that there is no scientific basi whatever for the idea that the alleged symptoms of HS come from some outside source of “directed energy.” 

9   Experts in electromagnetic energy say that a microwave oven could theoretically be used to eavesdrop on one’s neighbors, sine microwaves amplify sound, but that it would be essential to have a microphone inside the oven, 

10 Reputable scientists have also identified ultrasound as a possible source of HS symptoms.  

11 Reports of HS symptoms have come from American diplomats and spies from all over the globe, from China to Austria to Colombia, to Uzbekistan. 

12 Various government agencies in the Unit3d States have accused others of lack of cooperation and collaboration—a silo effect—and one Defense official said of the State Department that “they aren’t taking this shit seriously.” 

13 One Stat3e Department report concluded that the vast majority of HS symptoms came from “natural causes” but that a few probably did not. 

14   Reputable scientists have concluded that HS is most likely a “psychogenic disease,” which a hundred or so years ago bore the label “hysteria,” triggered by emotional stress., 

15   Some reputable scientists claim that HS in Cuba was probably triggered by the overuse of pesticides on the island against a persistent and damaging sub-species of mosquitoes. 

16   Some observers believe that attributing HS to psychogenic illness is “blaming the victim,” a phrase first used by William Ryan in 1971 to explain how social injustice against African-Americans was blamed on African-Americans themselves. 

17   Sixty years before the “pesticide” theory of HS was expressed, Rachel Carson said that the pesticide DDT caused sudden death, birth defects, chronic anemia, and leukemia in children. 

18   After World War II Soviet school children presented American Ambassador Averill Harriman with the Russian Great Seal to hang in his office, which he did, but not for six years was it discovered that it contained a microwave microphone for eavesdropping.

19   Liberal journalists have opined that HS has been a device used by “anti-Cuban hawks” and that a likely health problem has been weaponized with accounts of non-existent Russian and Cuban “ray-guns.” 

20   There have been different findings about the existence of actual brain damage, with some neurologists stating that a causal nexus is impossible to establish so long after reported symptoms. 

21 Washington, DC itself has not been immune from reports of HS, with sudden bouts of headaches and dizziness in both DC suburbs and on the Ellipse near the White House: sudden loud noise and painful headaches. 

22   Havana Syndrome is not the world’s first rodeo:  there have been thousands of claims since the 1950s of alien abductions, a puzzling blend of vivid descriptions, personal sincerity, and scientific mystery. 

23   Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, the new name for UFOs, have been attributed to advanced technology by the Russians or Chinese—or by extraterrestrial aliens—but HS has so far not been blamed on ETs. 

24   A United States government task force has recently said that it has more or less solved the mystery of HS but that the findings are not quite ready to be made public. 

25   Averill Harriman, the American diplomat bugged by the Russians for six years, eventually developed hearing loss, sometimes associated with HS, but this was attributed to old age. 

26   93 percent of American diplomats have reported no HS symptoms since they first appeared in lat3e 2016. 

27    The Trump Administration, hostile to the previous administration’s attempts at closer ties to Cuba, reduced diplomatic staff in Havana due to what it called Cuban responsibility for HS. 

28 In a suit still pending, 14 Canadian government employees sued their employer for not protecting them from HS, while the government has said that the causes of these maladies has yet to be determined. 

29   The Journal of the American Medical Association has editorialized against the confusing and contradictory methods used to analyze HS symptoms. 

30   Despite the popularity of such acronyms as UFO and UAP, so far, no government agency has dubbed HS a “UHI,” or Unexplained Health Incident. 

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