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Directed energy weapons shoot painful but non-lethal beams – are similar weapons behind the Havana s

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The latest episodes of so-called Havana syndrome, a series of unexplained ailments afflicting US and Canadian diplomats and spies, span the globe. They include two diplomats in Hanoi, Vietnam — which disrupted Vice President Kamala Harris’s foreign travel schedule — in August, several dozen reports at the US Embassy in Vienna earlier this year and a pair of incidents at the White House last November.

The cause of these incidents is unknown, but speculation in the US centres on electromagnetic beams.

If Havana syndrome turns out to be caused by weapons that shoot energy beams, they won’t be the first such weapons. As an aerospace engineer and former Vice Chair of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, I’ve researched directed energy. I can also personally attest to the effectiveness of directed energy weapons.

In 2020, a study on Havana syndrome by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded that the more than 130 victims experienced some real physical phenomena and that the cause was most likely some form of electromagnetic radiation.

These incidents began in 2016 with reports of multiple personnel at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, experiencing alarming and unexplained symptoms. The symptoms included a feeling of pressure on the face, loud noises, severe headaches, nausea and confusion. In some cases, the victims seem to have been left with permanent health effects.

Scientists from Cuba’s Academy of Sciences issued a report refuting the US National Academies report and ascribing the reported symptoms to psychological effects or a range of ordinary ailments and preexisting conditions. But based on my own experience, directed energy appears to be a plausible explanation.

Here’s how these beams affect people.

There is a very wide range of electromagnetic waves that are characterised by wavelength, which is the distance between successive peaks. These waves can interact with different types of matter, including human bodies, in a variety of ways.

The electromagnetic spectrum spans radio waves to gamma waves. NASA

At short wavelengths, a few hundred-billionths of a metre, ultraviolet rays from the Sun can burn the skin’s surface if someone is exposed for too long. Microwaves have longer wavelengths. People use these every day to reheat meals. Microwaves transfer energy into the water molecules inside food.

The US military has developed an Active Denial System that aims microwaves at people to cause pain without injury. US Air Force

The US military has developed a directed energy technology that shoots beams of a slightly longer wavelength in a focused area over distances up to a mile. This directed energy technology was designed for nonlethal control of crowds. When these waves interact with a person, they pass through the skin and transfer energy to the water that lies just under the surface.

I had the opportunity to be zapped by one of these systems. I stood about a half-mile from the source and the beam was turned on. The portion of my body exposed to the beam got hot really quickly, and I immediately stepped out of the beam. The feeling was as though someone had just opened the door of a large furnace right by me.

A demonstration of a military Active Denial System.

At even longer wavelengths, electromagnetic radiation can interact with electronic systems and can be used to disable computers and control systems. For these waves, interaction with matter generates electrical currents and fields that interfere with the electrical systems. The military is developing these technologies to defend against drone attacks.

Defence through detection

It’s plausible that at just the right wavelength, an electromagnetic beam could be projected over hundreds of yards to create the symptoms seen in Havana syndrome incidents. If this is the case, it’s likely that these beams are interfering with the electrical functions of the brain and central nervous system.

For example, the Frey effect involves microwaves activating the auditory sensory nerves. Other studies have noted potential effects of microwaves on the central nervous system, such as decreased response time, social dysfunction and anxiety.

Further study is needed to determine the cause of Havana syndrome incidents. Unfortunately, this type of electromagnetic radiation does not leave a telltale trace like sunburn, which makes it difficult to be certain of the explanation.

While the results of the National Academies study were made public, it is likely that federal agencies are carrying out additional activities behind the scenes to try to explain these incidents and determine who is to blame.

Similar to responding to cyberattacks, though, the government may be reluctant to release too much information to the public because it could reveal techniques for detecting and countering the attacks.

If the source of Havana syndrome turns out to be electromagnetic waves, then in principle, buildings could be hardened against them. However, it would be expensive and would still leave people vulnerable outdoors.

Perhaps the best option to prevent further attack is detection. It is relatively simple and inexpensive to install sensors to detect electromagnetic waves on buildings and vehicles. Such sensors could also help identify the location of the source of the attacks and, in this way, act as a deterrent.

Assuming Havana syndrome is the result of deliberately targeted electromagnetic beams, employees of the US government and other nations will remain susceptible to these attacks until governments take such defensive measures.

[Understand new developments in science, health and technology, each week. Subscribe to The Conversation’s science newsletter.]

Iain Boyd, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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‘We owe this to our people’: Lawmakers want answers on directed-energy attacks

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The attacks were first identified in Cuba in 2016 in what became known as “Havana Syndrome.” American diplomats were believed to have been targeted with directed energy from an unknown source. Victims of the suspected attacks have reported symptoms including severe headaches, ringing and pressure in the ears, and even long-term brain damage. Since then the incidents have stumped officials across the U.S. government, where a massive investigation is beginning to take shape as the threat to American personnel has increased — both overseas and on U.S. soil.

“The response was inadequate in the early stages. I think it’s gotten better but still not good enough,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chair of the intelligence committee, said in a brief interview. “It’s almost like the burden of proof is on these individuals, and given the nature of the injuries they’ve suffered, I don’t think it was initially treated the way it should’ve been.”

After POLITICO first revealed the Pentagon’s recent warnings to congressional committees amid a rising number of incidents, lawmakers lamented that individuals hit with suspected attacks were not getting the necessary medical care. Rubio, for example, said victims were facing “bureaucratic hurdles” to get proper treatment.

Last year, former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller approved a plan for the Pentagon to cover medical care for victims of the suspected attacks who sought treatment at the department’s facilities, according to two former national security officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

In the meantime, though, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told POLITICO she is working on legislation that would allocate funding for medical care and other financial compensation for the alleged victims. Collins, a senior member of the intelligence committee, also wants to give targets of directed-energy attacks access to the brain injury unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Sen. Susan Collins speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on March 18.

Sen. Susan Collins speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on March 18.
Susan Walsh, Pool/AP Photo

“I have been very concerned for two years about the battle that government personnel have faced in getting proper medical treatment for these mysterious attacks that have occurred while they’ve been serving our country — and it just should not be that way,” Collins, who has spoken directly with some of the victims, said in a brief interview.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s top deputies are facing growing pressure from lawmakers to figure out who is responsible for the suspected attacks, which officials believe have also occurred on U.S. soil, including near the White House and in the D.C. suburbs. Despite CIA Director William Burns’ renewed focus on the matter, lawmakers want to see more done.

“Too much of that information has been classified, to the detriment not just of those people who have been affected, but also to the response to address it,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), an Armed Services Committee member who has led the push on “Havana Syndrome” for years.

Shaheen added that the Biden administration is “at least beginning to address it” while the Trump administration didn’t do enough.

Due to the nature of the suspected attacks and the sophisticated weaponry used, they are extremely difficult to attribute. Officials have told lawmakers that they suspect the GRU, Russia’s military-intelligence unit, may be behind the incidents, as POLITICO first reported, but the U.S. intelligence community has not yet made a formal determination.

Lawmakers and aides say the yearslong failure to determine who is responsible means the executive branch has kept too much information about the phenomenon under wraps. It’s a familiar spot for members of Congress, who, Republican and Democratic alike, grew frustrated with the Trump administration for its lackluster congressional engagement that often led to lawmakers first learning of major developments through the press.

Even the ultra-secretive Gang of Eight — the group of congressional and intelligence committee leaders privy to top-secret information — has been in the dark about key elements of the episodes. Rubio, a Gang of Eight member, said the Biden administration was not providing enough concrete information to the committees of jurisdiction on Capitol Hill.

“We’re demanding to know more. It’s a legitimate thing for us to oversee … not just on how they’ve responded, but how that’s ongoing,” Rubio said in a brief interview. “I know I haven’t been [told enough]. And I think you’ll find everybody else agrees with that.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the former chair and a current member of the intelligence committee, said the panel has not been briefed about the suspected domestic incidents involving directed energy, adding: “I would think most people would assume that we have been [briefed].” A source familiar with the committee’s briefings noted that the panel has been informed about the suspected incidents on U.S. soil.

Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

A representative for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. A spokesperson for the CIA referred questions about the broader engagement with Congress to the National Security Council but added: “CIA is committed to continued and robust engagement with intelligence oversight on our work to care for affected officers and to determine the cause of these anomalous health incidents.”

“In our first 100 days, the Biden administration had both more open and closed member and staff engagements on this issue than the entire Trump administration,” said National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne. “We will keep working closely with Congress on this issue and very much appreciate efforts by members to support improved access to medical care for impacted individuals.”

Complicating matters further is the fact that in addition to the intelligence panels, the House and Senate Armed Services committees are pushing for additional information on the attacks, which have also impacted Defense Department personnel. The Pentagon, which launched a task force on the suspected attacks last year, has been briefing both committees and told lawmakers last month that the threat against U.S. personnel was growing and urgent.

The investigation has intensified in recent months, and now includes all 18 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community. Burns in particular has stepped up his personal involvement in the matter.

“There are a lot of entities within the government looking at this,” Warner said. “We need to have it better coordinated, and I think there’s a level of seriousness given to this now that, frankly, was not there until Director Burns came and made this a priority.”

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Shaheen pressed Biden’s pick to be the Pentagon’s top civilian intelligence official, Ronald Moultrie, on making more information about the mysterious attacks publicly available. The details released have been “very dispersed” and “very classified,” Shaheen said.

“Sometimes I’m not sure that one agency talks to the other agency in terms of what we’re doing,” she added.

Shaheen urged Moultrie to push for an “unclassified accounting” to ensure lawmakers and the public get “consistent information” on directed-energy attacks.

Moultrie vowed he would “find ways to disseminate this information to our citizens and to those who need to know in our installations and facilities around the world.”

Lara Seligman and Connor O’Brien contributed to this report.

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Conspiracy Theorists Think Biden Was Hit With Directed-Energy Weapons During Debate

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President Joe Biden delivered a stunningly bad performance last week during his debate with Donald Trump, causing many Democrats to worry about the future of American democracy. But some folks on social media think they’ve figured out why Biden looked so puzzled and frequently spoke haltingly with a blank stare in his eyes. Maybe the president was hit with a directed energy weapon that’s giving him Havana Syndrome.

Havana Syndrome is the name for a group of mysterious illnesses that have cropped up among U.S. spies over the past decade. The working theory has been that adversarial countries like Russia or China are intentionally targeting Americans with invisible rayguns to give them brain damage. And while the science is still very much in question, some people seem convinced that’s what happened at Thursday’s debate.

“URGENT: Scientist whose previous work included directed energy beam research for the US intelligence community said Biden’s symptoms during the CNN debate made him think of the Havana Syndrome. This is according to former KGB spy Yuri Shvets who defected to the US in 1993,” social media influencer Igor Sushko wrote on X late Sunday.

Sushko even included a video that was supposed to show the contrast between Biden on the day of the debate on June 27th and a rally the president held the next day in North Carolina. The suggestion is that Biden’s stumbles can only be explained by a targeted attack.

🚨 URGENT: Scientist whose previous work included directed energy beam research for the US intelligence community said Biden’s symptoms during the CNN debate made him think of the Havana Syndrome.
This is according to former KGB spy Yuri Shvets who defected to the US in 1993.

— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) July 1, 2024

Biden’s visible confusion and inability to sometimes even make complete sentences has caused panic among the Democratic Party, where donors and political leaders alike fear he could lose the presidential election. And defenses of Biden run the gamut, from people insisting he just had a bad night, to those who point out Biden has suffered his entire life from a stutter.

But the most dramatic explanation percolating on social media is that Biden is actually being interfered with by invisible weapons. Sushko even floated another conspiracy theory, that there was a Russian government plane that may have been involved in delivering the energy weapons.

“Shvets, a former KGB spy who was based in Washington DC during the 80s, does not believe in coincidences, and the fact that Russia’s IL-76 government plane landed in the US on June 27 before the debate and then left after the fact on June 29 could further suggest foul play,” Sushko tweeted.

It’s not entirely clear where the claim about the plane comes from. And Sushko’s source for quoting Shvets isn’t even clear, though it could be suggestions made during a Russian-language YouTube video posted Sunday. But it wasn’t just Sushko who was insisting Biden may have been the victim of nefarious forces at the debate.

“Biden was being assaulted with a directed energy weapon to diminish his performance. In spite of this he held on for 90 minutes. He’s a CHAMPION! This was to give TFG unfair advantage. #HavanaAct,” an account called Citizens That Know wrote in one of several tweets about the topic over the weekend.

Citizens That Know has accounts on platforms like X and Facebook dedicated to the concept of “targeted individuals,” a delusional belief many people have that they’re being stalked and harassed for no reason by largely unseen yet coordinated forces—often by criminal gangs or government agents.

“Note to @CNN and @CIA. This should be checked,” another account tweeted pointing to the directed energy claims. “The US hasn’t been taking Russia’s use of directed energy weapons against US Officials and Biden may be the latest victim.”

Whatever you think caused Biden’s embarrassing performance—whether you believe it’s typical cognitive decline that comes with old age or just an imperfect public speaker having a “bad night”—there’s no evidence it can be blamed on directed energy weapons. This is not to say that the U.S. government doesn’t have some highly advanced weapons at its disposal. The military has admittedly been working on laser weapons since the 1970s and we know the CIA developed a so-called heart attack gun around the same era. But in this case, the simplest explanation is the most likely.

Biden is 81 years old and clearly not performing like he used to. Trump, who’s just three years younger, is also slipping cognitively with repeated verbal stumbles and rants where he’ll frequently use the wrong name. Neither of these guys is at the top of their game, but it’s clear that Trump is the only one in this race with an agenda built on sadism and retribution.

Trump retweeted a call for Liz Cheney to be investigated for treason on Sunday, a crime he’s often pointed out includes the death penalty. Trump has even suggested his own top general, Mark Milley, should be executed for treason. If Trump gets back into office, things are going to get very bad very quickly.

No, Biden didn’t get hit with a directed energy weapon. But if the Democratic Party doesn’t get its act together and figure out how to convince voters that Biden or his potential replacement is fit for the job, the U.S. is going to be a very dark place to live come January.

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Vinay Menon: Did a directed-energy weapon cause Joe Biden’s debate disaster or is it time to drop out?

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President Joe Biden in Washington on Tuesday. During last week’s debate, Biden looked like a child lost in the mall in a city that did not speak his language, writes Vinay Menon.

Evan Vucci/AP

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