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Report links Havana diplomats’ mysterious symptoms to likely radiation ‘attack’

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A U.S. government report released Saturday points to radiofrequency energy as the likely source of the mysterious illness that made many U.S. diplomats, as well as other countries’ diplomats, serving in Havana, Cuba sick back in 2017. Additionally, the report cites strong evidence implying that the illness was likely caused by attacks. Radiofrequency energy, it should be noted, is a type of radiation that includes microwaves.

While the reports of these symptoms arose in August 2017, the reports themselves date back to late 2016.

More than 40 U.S. government employees were affected by this illness between 2016 and 2018, according to Reuters.

Researchers from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that the symptoms experienced by those diplomats in Havana—such as dizziness, nausea, visual impairments, hearing a loud sound, and headaches—were “consistent with a directed radio frequency (RF) energy attack”. This illness has come to be known as Havana syndrome.

Furthermore, the 19-person committee stated that “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” was “the most plausible mechanism” in explaining Havana syndrome but that secondary factors and other possible causes also bringing about these symptoms could not be taken off the table.

Other U.S. government employees stationed in Cuba and other places have also reported similar symptoms, such as in China and Russia. In June 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that it had withdrawn diplomats from China over worries that they were experiencing such symptoms.

The 2017 illnesses in Havana sparked rumors and speculation that it was a deliberate attack carried out by a foreign country hostile to the United States, with many U.S. officials suspecting Russia.

While the report doesn’t name any country or entity as the origin of these likely attacks, the researchers cited Western, Russian, and Soviet studies on pulsed radiofrequency technology and the exposure of military personnel stationed in “Eurasian communist countries” to this radiation who reported similar symptoms, saying these “provide circumstantial support for this possible mechanism.”

Both Russia and Cuba have denied any involvement in the likely attacks, according to NBC News.

Back in October, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “We’ve done a lot of work to try and identify how this all took place,” when asked about the investigation at a press conference. “And we continue to try and determine precisely the causation of this while doing our best to make sure we’re taking care of the health and safety of these people.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Analysis: Biden unlikely to sanction Iran’s oil exports, gas prices ‘critical during an election year’

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Analysts say President Joe Biden is unlikely to “prompt dramatic sanctions action on Iran’s oil exports” due to “worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China” according to Reuters.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, House Republican Representative Steve Scalise, said the administration had made it easier for Iran to sell its oil, generating revenues that were being used to “go fund terrorist activity.”

The Biden administration has maintained for months that among its primary goals is to keep the Gaza conflict between terror group Hamas and Israel from turning into a wider regional war. However, House Republican leaders accused President Joe Biden of failing to enforce existing measures and said they would take up this week a series of bills to sharpen sanctions on Iran.

Kimberly Donovan, a sanctions and anti-money laundering expert at the Atlantic Council, said that oil-related sanctions have not been strictly enforced in the past couple of years.

“I would not expect the administration to tighten enforcement in response to Iran’s missile and drone attacks against Israel over the weekend, mainly for concerns (that) could lead to increases in oil prices,” she said.

“The price of oil and ultimately the prices of gas at the pump become critical during an election year.”
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