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April 2, 2024

This Sunday, CBS’ SIXTY MINUTES did a segment on the neurological phenomenon that was dubbed “Havana Syndrome” due to the first publicly known cases showing up in staffers at our embassies in Cuba.  In “Targeting Americans,” host Scott Pelley said they had “important developments” to report in their five-year investigation of this.

You’ll recall that a number of Americans working in Cuba and overseas, generally but not exclusively at U.S. embassies, have reported intense symptoms ranging from “brain fog” and ringing in the ears to marked cognitive decline similar to dementia.  The theory has been that this was caused by some sort of laser weapon being targeted at them.  Now, after months of hearing very little about this, we’re suddenly being hit by reports from corporate media that specifically implicate Russia in a “decade-long, top-secret directed energy weapon program, [that] has been using these tools exclusively against U.S. government intelligence agents.”  That quote is from a new article in THE DOSSIER.

“U.S. national security officials, [including] White House staff, CIA officers, FBI agents, military officers, and their families” have been affected by this, according to 60 MINUTES’ Scott Pelley.  Some of them have long suspected a high-energy beam of microwaves or ultrasound.

The apparent reason for 60 MINUTES’ timing on this latest installment is made clear by Pelley:  “This is our fourth story, and for the first time, we have evidence of who might be responsible.”

Aha --- and guess who it is!  Why, Russia, of course!  And the victims “are frustrated,” Pelley said, “that the U.S government publicly doubts that an adversary is targeting Americans.”

One problem we see:  This hasn’t just happened in places where one would suspect Russia as the culprit.  Some American visitors to China, for example --- and not just government intel --- have suffered the same symptoms, though their stories have languished in limbo.  Why is 60 MINUTES pointing the finger so hard at Russia, and only Russia?

Another problem we see:  the fact that government sources are going on-camera for 60 MINUTES means just the opposite --- that the government (at least now) WANTS us to believe not only that the attacks are real, but that Russia, very specifically, is behind them.  Pardon our skepticism about any new “Russia” story; perhaps to convince us, the government could get, say, 51 former intel officials to sign a letter or something, to the effect that this has all the “classic earmarks” of Russian attacks.

Watch the 60 MINUTES report, included with the story at THE DOSSIER, to see sad details on some of the victims and also the interview with Dr. David Relman of Stanford University, who conducted a major study on Havana Syndrome for the government, titled “An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and their Families at Overseas Embassies.”  As it reports, “More than 100 officials or family members have unexplained, persistent symptoms.”

A number of studies have suggested that Havana Syndrome is a mass psychogenic illness, which is more likely in people working stressful jobs, such as in the diplomatic corps.  But Relman’s results, according to a report by Dan Vergano in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, “do leave open the possibility of some external cause such as pulsed microwaves.”  These can trigger injuries that could have healed by the time MRIs were done on the victims’ brains.  (MRIs of the subjects in two studies released in March detected no lingering brain injury.)

But some researchers think of this as an episode from which we should move on.  More detail here...

Relman told 60 MINUTES for an earlier report (2022) that they had found what they thought was “clear evidence, an injury to the auditory and vestibular [balance] systems of the brain.”  It seemed centered on the inner ear.  His study found that “directed, pulsed (Radio Frequency) energy...appears to be the most plausible mechanism…”

On Sunday, 60 MINUTES’ update turned momentarily into an action movie, with video of the apprehension of an alleged Russian spy in a wild car chase on a highway near St. Petersburg, Florida.  A Russian journalist, working for THE INSIDER in collaboration on this story, did some tracing of this Russian man and said on-camera that the man’s career had started in microwave electronics “with a particular focus on use within the military.”

“He had all the technology know-how that would be required for somebody to be assisting an operation that requires high technology.”  He became a Russian military electrical engineer with a top-secret security clearance.  But he emigrated to America and started working as...a chef?

The journalist explained to Scott Pelley that it’s not easy to leave the Russian military like that.  Once you’re in the military, you’re at their beck and call for the rest of your life.

According to 60 MINUTES’ sources, this man spent 80 hours being interviewed by an agent “who had investigated multiple Russian spies.”  He ended up going back to Russia; watch the report to hear about his likely unfortunate end.

You’ll also see Mark Zaid, the attorney representing more than two dozen clients, some from the FBI, CIA and State Department, who’ve experienced these same incapacitating symptoms.  Zaid makes the Russia leap, too: “The one thread that I know of with the FBI personnel that’s common among most if not all clients, other than the family members connected to the employee, was they were all doing something relating to Russia.”

By the way, do you remember Zaid as the attorney for the whistleblower who sparked Trump’s first impeachment with the testimony about his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy?  (We never forget a name!)  At the time, the whistleblower was anonymous, but we later learned it was Eric Ciaramella.  When the transcript of that call was released per Trump’s order, it turned out to be very different from the way Ciaramella had characterized it.  So when Zaid goes on 60 MINUTES to help the government implicate Russia, this might be something to keep in mind.

From the archives, here’s the way NBC reported it at the time…

And here’s the WASHINGTON EXAMINER on Ciaramella…

In the second half of “Targeting Americans,” Army Lt. Col. (retired) Greg Edgreen, who from 2021 to 2023 ran the investigation for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency into Havana Syndrome and was appearing for the first time publicly, said bluntly that in his opinion, “we are being attacked.  [By] Russia.”  His investigation scooped up vast amounts of data, and “ a very early stage, [he] started to focus on Moscow.”

It seemed as if their top-performing officers were being singled out, he said, “neutralized” by giving them traumatic brain injuries.  (Though he’s not a neuroscientist, he apparently assumes the attacks are real.)  “And, consistently, there was a Russia nexus.  There was some angle where they’d worked against Russia, focused on Russia…”

Watch the interview for details on another apparent targeting, this time at last year’s NATO Summit in Lithuania, which focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  During this time, a senior official for the Department of Defense sought medical treatment for the same symptoms.  President Biden was at this summit as well, and we certainly don’t want to hear any jokes now about Biden’s brain being hit by pulsating microwaves.  You know, like wondering how anyone would be able to tell…

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Edgreen says, “It tells me that there are no barriers to what Moscow will do and who they will attack, and that if we don’t face this head-on, the problem is going to get worse.”

For now, we don’t know if Havana Syndrome is caused by some weaponized beam of energy, but it sure might be.  The very thought used to be blasted as “conspiracy theory,” but now it seems the government finds it useful for this to be “real” and caused by Russia.  (Putin is certainly capable of doing such a horrible thing, and, actually, we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s been technology-sharing between Russia and China, which could explain some instances of this in other parts of the world.)

But when “Russia Russia Russia!” is trotted out AGAIN, in a forum like 60 MINUTES, especially --- sorry to have to say it --- in such a turbulent political year and after so much crying wolf, it’s hard not to suspect the deliberate dispersement of a new government-created narrative.

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