the secret weapon that Russia allegedly used – L’Express

the secret weapon that Russia allegedly used – LExpress

Migraines, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, insomnia, vision problems… From 2016, American diplomats stationed in Cuba said they were struck by strange disorders. These “abnormal health incidents”, according to the terminology used in the United States, were then reported elsewhere in the world (China, Germany, Australia, Russia, Austria) and even in Washington. In total, more than a hundred American diplomats, CIA members, military officers and contractors, sometimes their spouses, children and animals, as well as several Canadian officials, were affected by these ills.

Several media are revealing new elements about this mysterious syndrome. According to a survey published this Monday April 1 by the independent Russian news site The Insiderthe German magazine Der Spiegel and the American channel CBS, this “Havana syndrome” is linked to a Russian intelligence unit.

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Diplomats could be victims of a sonic weapon from Russia. The investigation, which lasted more than a year and which is based in particular on intercepted documents from Russian intelligence services and travel diaries, says it “discovered elements suggesting that these abnormal health incidents […] could come from the use of directed energy weapons, wielded by members of unit 29155” of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. Unit 29155 is responsible for operations abroad and has already found at the center of several cases, including the attempted poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom in 2018.

“Their scope is global for the conduct of lethal operations and acts of sabotage,” he told The Insider a former senior official of the CIA, the American intelligence agency. Originally designed as a training unit within the GRU, it was reorganized and expanded in 2008 to become an operational team dedicated to campaigns of assassination, sabotage and political destabilization around the world. Unlike other teams within Russia’s vast intelligence apparatus, this one does not spy on people, at least not for the purpose of gathering information: it is therefore exclusively devoted to violent military operations.

The central nervous system affected

As this investigation notes, Russian agents as well as members of this GRU unit 29155, traveling undercover, have been geolocated in locations around the world just before or at the time of reported abnormal health incidents. Additionally, senior members of this unit have received political awards and promotions for work related to the development of “non-lethal acoustic weapons”, a term used in Russian military scientific literature to describe both sounds and radio frequencies.

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According to a classified US intelligence report released in September 2022, titled “Anomalous Health Incidents: Analysis of Potential Causal Mechanisms”, inaudible high-frequency acoustic energy can enter the body through the ear canal or other parts of the head, causing potential disruption to the central nervous system, particularly the inner ear, where sound and balance are sensed. In particular, microwave and ultrasound energy can damage brain cells.

Furthermore, The InsiderCBS And Der Spiegel have obtained a set of intelligence documents describing a classified Soviet-era program named Reduktor, or “Gearbox.” Launched in 1984 at the Research Institute of Radio Technical Measurements in Kharkiv (now Ukraine), Reduktor’s main task was to study the uses of “electromagnetic radiation to influence the behavior and reactions of biological objects, (including]people).

An “unfounded” investigation according to Moscow

The investigation by the three media suggests that the first cases of Havana syndrome occurred in Germany two years before those reported in Cuba in 2016. In Frankfurt, an employee at the United States consulate lost consciousness due to this which would be likened to a “strong ray of energy”. The victim, who was later diagnosed with head trauma, was able to identify an agent from unit 29155 based in Geneva.

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From the start, the affair led to widespread speculation about its origin. Some US officials initially downplayed the symptoms sometimes attributed to stress, with others privately speaking of possible attacks and already suspecting countries like Russia. American intelligence, through the voice of the National Intelligence Director, Avril Haines, had estimated on March 1, 2023 “very unlikely” that a foreign power or a weapon was at the origin of the mysterious disorder. Earlier, in January 2022, a senior government official interviewed by AFP already indicated that it was “unlikely that a foreign actor, including Russia, would lead a prolonged global campaign to harm (American embassy) staff with a weapon or mechanism” of electromagnetic waves, even if this possibility was “not ruled out”.

This Monday, Moscow rejected the investigation carried out by international media as “baseless”. “This topic has been hyped in the press for several years now. And from the beginning, it has often been associated with Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a news conference. “But no one has ever published any convincing evidence, so all of this is nothing more than a baseless accusation,” he said.