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According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials informed the publication that at least two cases of so-called "Havana Syndrome" have been reported at the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia in the past weeks.
The WSJ reported Tuesday that emails sent to embassy staff by U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg in late September and early October 2021 mentioned several "Anomalous Health Incidents," the U.S. government's vague term for the equally opaque neurological condition that was first reported among staffers at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.
An official told the outlet that two American citizens were affected and that one family was recently flown out of Colombia for treatment.
"There was definitely a family including a minor hit," one person, who the WSJ described as having "knowledge of the situation in the embassy," said about the incident. "Adults sign up for what they sign up for and the risks that come with it … Targeting or even incidentally hitting kids should be a hard red line."
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Colombia next week to tour several Latin American nations. Likewise, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris had her visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, in late August delayed by several hours after an "anomalous health incident" was similarly reported at the U.S. eU.S.sy there.
Since late 2016 several U.S. embassy staff members worldwide have reported a common set of symptoms, including dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive difficulties, head ringing, and memory loss.
The U.S. government still has no explanation for the illness, five years later, but that hasn't stopped them from trying to blame the Cuban or Russian governments or from rotating through a series of theories about "sonic weapons" and "pulsed microwave energy," as varying reports suggest.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that the U.S. intelligence community "is actively examining a range of hypotheses" about the Anomalous Health Incidents, "but they have not made a determination about the cause of these incidents, or who is responsible."
The most coherent theory to emerge, but which has not been given airtime, is that the condition is caused not by nefarious weaponry deployed by America's enemies but by an insect whose irritating qualities are well-known across the Caribbean: the Indies short-tailed cricket.
In January 2019, two scientists published a report identifying the troublesome insect as "fairly definitively" the cause, as they described it to the New York Times. Sputnik noted at the time that the Associated Press described a recording of the sounds as "sort of like a mass of crickets" in 2017.
A State Department report from December 2018 authored by the JASON advisory group, a scientific panel that investigates items relevant to U.S. national security, was obtained and published last week by BuzzFeed News, arriving at the same conclusion.
The report found that "no plausible single source of energy (neither radio/microwaves nor sonic) can produce both the recorded audio/video signals and the reported medical effects. We believe the recorded sounds are mechanical or biological in origin, rather than electronic. The most likely source is the Indies short-tailed cricket."