In the bad old days, diseases were strictly defined by their causes or by their symptoms. Viruses, cancers, bacterial diseases, arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, and the like.
Thank God we are past of all of that reactionary nonsense. It’s 2021, and we are now enlightened and civilized enough to recognize the devastating illness of “Havana Syndrome” — a modern and progressive new medical condition for the Trump era, the Russiagate era, and the identity politics era.
Havana Syndrome has no cause, and its list of symptoms is impossibly long: Fatigue, vertigo, migraines, dizziness, memory loss, ear pain, tinnitus, visual impairment, “brain fog,” anxiety, and so on. Some people experience only brief symptoms, while others have reported debilitating, life-altering disability.
In other words, Havana Syndrome is whatever people want to believe it is. Its symptoms overlap with those of sleep deprivation, stroke, chronic anxiety, aging, drunkenness, and literally just getting older.
Since it has no definitive symptoms and no known cause, what actually sets Havana Syndrome apart is who it afflicts: America’s elite class of globetrotting diplomats and intelligence agents.
From the AP:
The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.
Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top US diplomat has called them “health attacks”.
“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”
The government informed the public of the horror of Havana syndrome August 2017. Not even two months later, the “mystery after mystery after mystery” was solved, when Cuba’s government helpfully pointed out a part of native wildlife America’s cloistered cosmopolitan elite diplomats were apparently unfamiliar with: crickets.
The US pulled the bulk of its diplomats from Cuba in September, blaming attacks on its staff that caused hearing loss and concussions. Cuba has denied any involvement, and now it is offering a counter-explanation: The alleged “sonic attacks” are coming from cicadas and crickets.
“We compared the spectrums of the sounds and evidently this common sound is very similar to the sound of a cicada,” Lt. Col. Juan Carlos Molina, a Cuban government expert, said on the television broadcast Alleged Sonic Attacks. The program also claimed sufficiently loud insect noises could “produce hearing loss, irritation and hypertension in situations of prolonged exposure.”
The US sent its own State Department investigators to find the real cause. And lo and behold, a full year later, they delivered a memo that has since been declassified.
Here’s an excerpt:
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, Anurogryllis celerinictus. The call of this animal matches, in nuanced detail, the spectral properties of the recordings from Cuba once room echoes are taken into account.
Despite the finding, Havana Syndrome complaints from our poor, beleaguered elites kept coming. Two weeks ago, NBC gave a sympathetic profile to Kate Husband, a Cuba diplomat who claimed that the cricket sound beam aged her brain by 20 years, and Tina Onufer, a diplomat who described being “struck with something” and then having four years of “excruciating headaches.”
As it turns out, the devastating case of nefarious weaponized cricket spies wasn’t just confined to Cuba. More diplomats and spies started to fall ill around the world. And after initially suspecting the Cubans, the American intelligence establishment zeroed in on Russia as the prime suspect. Why? Because they’re evil, obviously.
One of the public faces of the the dreaded Havana Syndrome is Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA official turned relentless anti-Russia agitator who won’t shut up about the time he woke up in his Moscow hotel and threw up.
Marc Polymeropoulos awoke with a start. The feeling of nausea was overwhelming. Food poisoning, he thought, and decided to head for the bathroom. But when he tried to get out of bed, he fell over. He tried to stand up and fell again. It was the early morning hours of December 5, 2017, and his Moscow hotel room was spinning around him. His ears were ringing. He felt, he recalled, “like I was going to both throw up and pass out at the same time.”
[Polymeropoulos and his colleague] were ostentatiously followed everywhere by half a dozen FSB tails, but it didn’t stop Polymeropoulos and his colleague from seeing the sights—a local McDonald’s, the fabled Moscow Metro, and dive bars where Russian patrons earnestly asked them why Americans hate Russians so much.
Two days before the end of his trip, Polymeropoulos and his colleagues were eating dinner at Pushkin, a posh Moscow restaurant, when he suddenly felt the room begin to spin again, just as it had in the hotel room that night. A wave of nausea hit, and he was suddenly drenched in sweat. He barely made it back to his hotel room, where, having canceled all his meetings, he stayed for the rest of his trip, unable to move. His body was in revolt, and he had no idea why. “I made it back on the airplane somehow,” Polymeropoulos said.
To wit: a major CIA figure was regularly hitting Moscow dive bars, and shortly after developed hangover-like symptoms.
Lesser beings might attribute this to, you know, a hangover, or at least food poisoning. But an ascended one like Marc Polymeropoulos divined the truth: Putin did this!
That’s the saga of Havana Syndrome in a nutshell. For nearly five years, the “disease” of Havana Syndrome has been sweeping like a plague through America’s diplomatic and intelligence corps. And for just as long, it’s been obvious what the truth of the syndrome is: A psychosomatic affliction, the product of active imaginations, paranoia, social contagion, and the decaying quality of America’s elite caste.
By now, Havana Syndrome should have withered away. Instead, it’s become more important than ever.
Havana Syndrome is now being utilized to remake US foreign policy in a frenzy of anti-Russia hysteria. No anecdote could better reveal the triumph of mediocrity in America’s diplomatic and intelligence “elite.” The Republican collaboration in this reveals the party’s embarrassing failure to learn anything from the past five years.
What’s really going on here? For that, it’s worth revisiting a little-known incident from the upstate New York town of Le Roy, birthplace of Jell-O. In August 2011, more than a dozen students at Le Roy Junior-Senior high school came down with a baffling tic disorder. They stuttered, compulsively hummed, and even hit themselves uncontrollably until they suffered injuries. Almost all the victims were teen girls, though one boy and a middle-aged woman were also afflicted.
When doctors proposed that the affliction was psychological in nature, the students and their parents resisted the diagnosis. They suggested they might be the victims of an obscure infection; some even proposed they were being poisoned by pollutants from a toxic chemical spill 40 years prior. Victims gave television interviews and appeared on Dr. Drew Pinsky’s show. They made Facebook posts and YouTube videos about their condition. For many, the symptoms only grew worse.
But finally, a neurologist cracked the case. From Reuters:
Doctors determined the attention from social media and mainstream media aggravated the problem, and discouraged patients from participating in either. The result, doctors say, is that most of the patients shed the Tourette-like symptoms and returned to a “normal life” in time for high school graduation on Sunday.
“We noticed that the kids who were not in the media were getting better; the kids who were in the media were still very symptomatic,” [Dr. Laszlo] Mechtler said.
“One thing we’ve learned is how social media and mainstream media can worsen the symptoms,” he said. “The mass hysteria was really fueled by the national media, social media – all this promoted the worsening of symptoms by putting these people at the national forefront.”
The story in Le Roy ended happily, with the patients recovering save for one who actually did turn out to have Tourette syndrome (and likely inspired the tics in others).
But now, imagine if there was no heroic neurologist telling everyone to let the story die. Imagine instead that the press and the government endlessly hyped up this mysterious tic disorder and heaped attention on the sufferers. If that had happened, no doubt students across upstate New York would still be coming down with the disease. And that is what seems to be happening with Havana syndrome in the CIA and State Department: The more hype this “disease” receives, the more “cases” conveniently develop.
A similar phenomenon is raging right now in the world of TikTok. Across the globe, doctors are reporting a huge surge in teen girls with tic disorders, apparently related to the popularity of tic disorder videos on the social media platform.
None of this is to suggest that the suffering of the girls in Le Roy, or the suffering of America’s diplomats, is fake or imagined. They do seem to be genuinely suffering. But this doesn’t prove they are victims of an outside force. Rather, it’s a sign of just the power of subconscious suggestion on the human mind. But rather than admit that, and by extension admit its own weakness, America’s national security establishment is using Havana Syndrome to escalate conflict with Russia, a nuclear-armed foreign power.
A weapon capable of invisibly inflicting the symptoms of Havana Syndrome is not known to exist, and may even be physically impossible to create. But despite that, “experts” in the NatSec establishment have obsessively fixated on the idea of some kind of “directed energy weapon.” Because the theory is premised on the existence of an unknown super-advanced weapon, it has become impossible to disprove; how could one prove that a foreign country does not have secret technology?
Even America’s failing scientific establishment has been sucked in. A 2018 paper published in JAMA argued that victims were suffering “brain damage” and argued that a directed energy attack was the most plausible explanation, even though this “most plausible” explanation requires a weapon currently not known to exist. Yet that paper’s methodology was so shaky that it was initially rejected by a peer reviewer, and after publication it sparked an outcry from the scientific community.
At this point, I began wondering – how did this paper even get past peer review?! And the answer is – it almost didn't! UCLA neurologist Bob Baloh peer reviewed it and recommended rejection (excerpts from Baloh's book on the case, co-authored with journo Robert Bartholomew) pic.twitter.com/xigIYUY64w
— Natalie Shure (@nataliesurely) October 26, 2020
So, in short, there are two major possibilities. Either:
- One of America’s enemies possesses omnipresent, ultra-high-tech secret microwave weapons that produce wildly different symptoms in their victims, and is gleefully using them around the world for no discernible purpose in an attack tantamount to an extreme escalation in hostilities, which could possibly culminate in great power war, or even a nuclear exchange.
- A bunch of women and effeminate “men” got nervous after some diplomats got sick and are now having a collective global panic attack.
For four increasingly stupid years, Havana Syndrome has hung around, drawing more attention, more investigations, more articles, and more hysteria. Cases popped up in Austria, Germany, Vietnam, Serbia, and Taiwan. Each piece of confirmation bias has built upon those that came before. October 2021 may have been the low point. Just last month, a new wave of “cases” popped up in Berlin and in Colombia. America’s national security “journalism” corps is churning out some of their dumbest articles yet about the entire phenomenon.
On October 20th, Julia Ioffe published “A Cold War Saga in Biden’s Washington” for some new website we’ve never heard of before, Puck. Ioffe is a Fulbright Scholar, veteran of The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Politico, and The Atlantic, and living proof that standards at all five of those entities are dangerously low.
In the piece, Ioffe launches right into a comedy bit straight away with the subheading:
Members of the intelligence community are increasingly convinced that the Russian government is behind the hundreds of terrifying directed-energy attacks on diplomats and spies known as the Havana Syndrome. Will Congress respond to the “medium confidence” intelligence with countermeasures? As one member of the community told me, “We got bin Laden with medium confidence.”
It turns out that by attaching the word “medium confidence” to something, the CIA can bamboozle journalists.
Ioffe demonstrates more of her Fulbright-winning intellect when she explains her thought process for suspecting Havana Syndrome was real from the beginning: “I always suspected that these illnesses were the product of deliberate attacks and that the Russian government was behind them—it was exactly the kind of weird thing they’d be both into and capable of.”
More gems pile up throughout. Ioffe notes that Vladimir Putin “has the motive” to launch dangerous attacks on US diplomats. That motive: “poking the country in the eye is a worthy end in and of itself.” In other words, Putin is just so evil he attacks diplomats for no reason, even when there’s no other upside and it puts his country at risk of retaliation.
Later on in the piece, Ioffe quotes the compelling argument of a Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill: “Why would we question the sanity of people who are highly trained to handle some of the government’s most sensitive information and negotiations?”
Hmmm… Well, they’re the same people who were convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the same people who thought they could win the Afghan War with feminism, and the same people who spent four years hunting for Russian collusion?
Ioffe’s article is one embarrassment after another, an accidental revelation of how scant the evidence actually is for Havana Syndrome. CIA agents hoped to buy one of Russia’s mysterious weapons on the black market, but the effort strangely “went nowhere.” A former ambassador hired to investigate the matter leaned toward “mass hallucination” as the explanation, but was fired after victims complained she had reached the wrong conclusion.
Ioffe’s overwhelming credulity isn’t new. A year ago, she profiled the man who may as well be the mascot for how stupid Havana Syndrome is, the aforementioned Marc Polymeropoulos.
Ioffe’s GQ profile of Polymeropoulos is the source for his humorously degrading anecdote of being “attacked” after visiting dive bars in Moscow. Ioffe calls it a “tantalizing clue” that Polymeropoulos was “hit” with Havana Syndrome “while in Russia, while doing a job that countered the work of Russian intelligence services.”
This is a good example of the confirmation bias that plagues all Havana Syndrome “reporting”: Why is a single case in Russia such powerful evidence of Russian meddling, when the first cases emerged in Cuba? If Russia is behind it, why is the largest cluster of cases in Vienna, Austria, which is neither in Russia, nor in one of its allies, nor in a location of extreme geopolitical importance? If Polymeropoulos’s high-ranking CIA job supports the narrative of targeted attacks, why do other victims consist of diplomats of no importance, and children?
The answer? Stop thinking so hard, we have laser beams to find.
While intended to make the most powerful possible case for Havana Syndrome, Polymeropoulos’s story in GQ inadvertently reveals the whole charade as a farce. How did he know his bout of food poisoning or too much alcohol might just be a Russian plot? Well, when he met some Russian officials, they were mean to him:
SVR officers told Polymeropoulos and his colleague bluntly that they had not wanted them to come and could not understand why they had shown up in Moscow anyway. “You are not welcome here,” Polymeropoulos remembers them telling him. Then the Russians launched into a long lecture on America’s systemic racism and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Polymeropoulos turned to one of his colleagues and asked, “Is this guy fucking kidding? Like, are you serious?”
Polymeropoulos was stunned by how unabashedly combative his Russian counterparts were. He had spent his career in a region where people were exceedingly polite, rolling out banquets and plying him with tea, even as he knew they were plotting to kill him. He knew the Russians didn’t like him, but “I would have expected them to be a little more polite,” Polymeropoulos told me.
The entire piece makes it obvious that Polymeropoulos has delusions of grandeur, delusions that Ioffe eagerly encourages. His hosts in the Middle East were “plotting to kill him” even as he bravely feasted at banquets they put on for him. While in Moscow, he was “the equivalent of a four-star general.” He repeatedly refers to himself as “grizzled.”
Polymeropoulos is clearly a man with a need to see himself as the protagonist of a Tom Clancy thriller, and sure enough, life events have bent accordingly.
And, of course, no one should be surprised that Polymeropoulos is a maximally paranoid Russia hoaxer. In October 2020, he claims he “basically wrote” the letter signed by former intelligence officials making the ludicrous claim that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. And since his retirement, he has been a go-to source for news outlets that want a “former CIA official” to provide the most demented possible quote.S
Intelligence officials believe that one of the people the Kremlin relied on to spread disinformation about Ukrainian interference was Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who had ties to Mr. Manafort. … “There is a long history of Russians putting out fake information,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former senior C.I.A. official. “Now they are trying to put out theories that they think are damaging to the United States.”
“We are acting like a banana republic, with various cabinet officials so beholden to a dictator, they violate all norms and rules simply to curry favor,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA officer who oversaw operations in Europe and Russia before retiring last summer.
Polymeropoulos told CNN that Ratcliffe, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr, “have forgotten their oath to protect America; they only serve this President, and history will judge them for that.”
It doesn’t matter if Russia is piggybacking off Trump’s rhetoric, or if Trump is harnessing messaging that originates in Moscow, argued Marc Polymeropoulos, who retired from the CIA last year after overseeing clandestine operations in Europe and Russia.
The president is “a witting collaborator in a Russian disinformation campaign,” he said.
If you looked up “motivated reasoning” in the dictionary, you’d find Marc Polymeropoulos’s photo there. Trump is a dictator. Putin is an evil liar who must be stopped. And of course he attacks his most dangerous enemies, like the brilliant Marc Polymeropoulos, with his most advanced top secret weaponry.
But while Polymeropoulos enthusiastically believes in 31st-century Russian laser tech, he apparently doesn’t believe in the ludicrous conspiracy theory surmising the existence of a “Deep State.”S
From The New Republic:
“Conspiracy theories are the domain of the ignorant and uneducated, who long for an explanation for events or circumstances that are beyond their grasp,” says Marc Polymeropoulos, who spent 26 years in the CIA’s senior intelligence service.
“Trump’s obsession with the deep state falls in this category,” Polymeropoulos explains. “He finds that anyone who objects to his policies or beliefs—most of which are far outside the mainstream of traditional rational thinking—are deep staters who want to block his agenda.”
If the irony emanating from the above statement could be harnessed as an energy source, it could power America for a century.
To recap: the loudest and most aggressive proponent of Havana Syndrome is also a militant Trump hater, Russia paranoiac, and Biden campaign shill, who thinks he was hit by an invisible laser beam because he had hangover-like symptoms after visiting a bunch of Moscow dive bars.
This would be bad enough if Polymeropoulos were just angrily agitating for people to take his attention-whoring seriously and give him money (Congress and President Biden acquiesced three weeks ago). But naturally, “grizzled” Marc Polymeropoulos, survivor of countless undocumented assassination plots, is also demanding that America escalate tensions with Russia over his hangover symptoms.
“I think it’s now time that Congress and the administration together begin discussing and formulating possible policy responses, in what was an act of war, in preparation for a future attribution call by the national security establishment,” Polymeropoulos told Politico.
Incredibly, the Republican Party is indulging this buffoon.
Former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has called Havana Syndrome an “act of war.” Senator Marco Rubio sounds like a CNN guest pushing the Russia hoax in 2017, openly stating that anybody who questions the new “invisible laser beam” narrative is on the payroll of a foreign power.
“I think that’s quackery,” Rubio said of those who have argued that the symptoms are psychosomatic. “I’d invite them to explain that to the now-dozens of people who have suffered documented brain injuries that in many cases have made them incapable of ever working again.”
The Florida Republican also suggested that some of the skeptics, many of whom have written op-eds recently, are “influence agents that are being paid and or encouraged to write these on behalf of those — foreign government or whatever — that don’t want this to be discussed out there and want to cast doubt about it.”
“I mean, they’re echoing the lines that we heard from the Cuban regime and others,” Rubio added.
Wild accusations of foreign collusion and treason are bad enough, but Republicans show no signs of stopping there. In August, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul introduced the Havana Syndrome Attacks Response Act. The act, if passed, would compel the president to place sanctions on any person and any government believed responsible for these attacks that, once again, almost certainly did not happen.
After five years of constant Deep State lies meant to nullify the 2016 election, derail the Trump presidency, and even unjustly imprison supports of President Trump, the Republican Party is still falling for even their most facially ridiculous lies and hysterics.
The US State Department employs close to 25,000 people and has a budget of nearly $60 billion. The CIA employs another 21,000 with a budget of $15 billion, and who knows what is being hidden on black budgets and black ops.
These are vast organizations, given tremendous resources and tremendous trust, to represent the interests of the world’s richest and most powerful country. The State Department and CIA have the power to prevent major wars — or to ignite them. And right now, both organizations are openly announcing to the world that they are prone to delusions about imaginary sci-fi weaponry, and that a large share of their stuff can be disabled by spreading Havana Syndrome memes.
As the world’s global financial capital and printer of the world’s reserve currency, the United States arrogates for itself immense power to dictate access to world markets and to punish alleged malefactors. To be the subject of US sanctions is a guarantee a country’s economy will never be ordinary; in the most severe cases sanctions can cause thousands of avoidable deaths. Whether sanctions are ever wise may be debated, but levying them is at minimum not something to be done lightly.
Yet now, America is on the brink of flagrantly abusing the sanctions process by using the mental breakdown of its own diplomats as a cheap pretext to freeze bank accounts and block global trade. Such behavior is completely outrageous, and a country that engages in it does not deserve to control the world’s financial markets.
Every day that America pretends Star Wars is real life is another day that justifies a new, more multipolar world order, where the delusions of some cranks in Langley or Foggy Bottom don’t risk starting a nuclear war.
And every day this crisis continues is a sign of just how psychologically sick the American world order has become. As the Globalist American Empire has become more untethered from competence, it has also become more untethered from reality itself, and more vulnerable to propaganda as a result. This propaganda need not come from a foreign power, either. In essence, the CIA and State Department have been paralyzed by their own anti-Russia propaganda dating back to the 2016 election.
What started as hysterical allegations that Donald Trump was a Russian agent mutated into hysterical claims that Russia was attacking American diplomats.
Other examples of the American left getting “high on its own supply” are everywhere.
Arguably, the entire “woke” panic of the past decade is an example, where partisan claims of Republican “racism” and “sexism” eventually transformed into an all-consuming paranoia about systemic racism and sexism lurking everywhere in American life.
Similarly, for more than half a decade, the press and other ideological actors have been promoting the belief that children can be born in the “wrong” body, and that if they are depressed about puberty or some other facet of growing up, it could be proof they are “transgender.” And naturally, beneath this media frenzy, transgenderism has exploded. Fifteen years ago, fewer than one in ten thousand children were allegedly transgender, and the vast majority of those claiming transgenderism boys. Today, one in fifty US high schoolers identify as some sort of trans, and the vast majority are girls.
It isn’t biology that changed, and it isn’t that people are now comfortable “coming out of the closet.” Young people have been memed into becoming trans. And if people can be memed into mutilating their genitals, then they can absolutely be memed into thinking their headaches and anxiety are a product of Russian attacks.
In short, US diplomats think they are being shot with invisible laser beams for the same reason tens of thousands of American girls suddenly believe they are men.
Just another day in the Globalist American Empire.