Havana Syndrome strikes again? What is it exactly?

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Aug 25, 2021, 04:53 PM IST

File photo of Kamala Harris Photograph:(AFP)

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Is it an illness or a well-orchestrated attack against diplomats and spies?

The world of diplomacy is filled with the usual diplomatic tussle. The sparring diplomats try tricks in their games of one-upmanship. But addling with abilities of rival diplomats with spycraft and equipment? Well, such things don't come out in public when they are actually happening.

The latest intrigue is about the so-called 'Havana Syndrome', back in the news due to delay in US Vice-President Kamala Harris' flight from Singapore to Vietnam. On Wednesday, Harris' flight was delayed for three hours after reports that someone in Vietnam suffered from Havana Syndrome.

What is the Havana Syndrome?

The first case was observed in 2016 when a US intelligence agent in US embassy in Havana complained of vertigo, ear pain, tinnitus. As per report in Politico, the doctor said that the agent had inner ear damage likely caused due to projected energy device.

Diplomats and their families in Cuba complained of complained of nosebleeds, migraines and nausea.

They said that the complaints started after experiencing piercing sounds at night

Since then similar complaints have been reported from US officials in China, Russia and inside the United States.

In July the New Yorker reported that since President Joe Biden took office this year, about two dozen US intelligence officers, diplomats and other government officials in Austria have reported problems similar to the Havana syndrome.

Are these piercing sounds natural? Or are they projected by agents of rival countries who want to impair abilities of US agents and diplomats is still being ascertained

What exactly is causing the Havana Syndrome? 

Earlier this month, the US appeared still unsure as to the exact cause of the syndrome.

The director of national intelligence said she had convened a meeting with top cabinet officials and other experts Friday to discuss the problem, which has led to unproven allegations that Russians or others used sonic or other high-intensity electronic devices to physically harm US diplomats in Cuba, China and other countries.