‘Havana Syndrome’ not a foreign campaign: Report

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    • Recently, the CIA has concluded that U.S. diplomats suffering from “Havana Syndrome” were not targeted in a global campaign by a foreign power.

    Background

    • The incidents first surfaced among diplomats in 2016 in Havana.
    • In this, U.S. and Canadian officials complained of headaches, and possible brain damage after hearing high-pitched sounds.
    • Since then, diplomatic and intelligence officials have reported similar experiences in countries including Australia, Austria, China, Colombia, Germany and Russia.

    Image Courtesy: IE 

    Anticipated working of Syndrome

    • The study suggests that the victims may have been subjected to high-powered microwaves that either damaged or interfered with the nervous system. 
    • It was said to have built a pressure inside the brain that generated the feeling of a sound being heard. 
    • Greater exposure to high-powered microwaves is said not only to interfere with the body’s sense of balance but also impact memory and cause permanent brain damage.
    • It is suspected that beams of high-powered microwaves are sent through a special gadget that Americans have begun calling “microwave weapons”.

    Microwave Weapons

    • Some previous Reports found “directed” microwave radiation to be the  “plausible” cause of the Syndrome.
    • These weapons are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
    • These weapons use beams of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to heat the water in a human target’s skin, causing pain and discomfort.

    • Countries Having Microwave Weapons
      • A number of countries are thought to have developed these weapons to target both humans and electronic systems. 
      • China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1, at an air show in 2014.
      • The United States has also developed a prototype microwave-style weapon, which it calls the “Active Denial System”. 
    • Threats:
      • Concerns have been raised on whether they can damage the eyes, or have a carcinogenic impact in the long term.
      • The US Department of Defence FAQ specifically says its Active Denial System does not cause cancer or infertility. 
      • It also says that studies have shown that “natural blink reflex, aversion response and head turn all protect the eyes” from the weapon.
      • It is not clear yet how China intends to use such a weapon, and whether it can kill or cause lasting damage to human targets.  

    Sources: TH